The Weight by Jose Flores

Content Warning* Story contains depictions of self-harm.

(In any story you will ever read, there is a moral or something we take from it, but this story is only meant to be heard)

It is a warm Sunday morning as a 15 year old boy is laying on a cold bed in an emergency room with no windows. Barely regaining consciousness, the boy looks around and sees a camera in the corner of the room, then looks at his armband. It reads Lucas Byron, DOB 03/11/2005, New Orleans East Hospital. A female doctor walks in. 

She says, “Hi how are you feeling… Yeah I wouldn’t want to talk too much either after having your stomach pumped. Anyways, can you remember what happened before you lost consciousness?” 

Luke is remembering the days before the incident.

It was a typical day after school, Luke and his friend Nick were walking home. Nick was telling Luke about a girl he wants to have sex with in class, but Luke can’t relate. Luke’s inner thoughts are saying, “Why don’t I like anyone the way Rick does.” This thought lingers in his head the rest of the day. He often contemplated his own sexuality, but today really got to him. He had thought before maybe that he was gay, but even then he still didn’t feel any attraction. All he knew was that he felt out of place. All his life he’d never shown an interest in anybody or had a crush. Almost everyone in his class was in a relationship. Nick was the only person he talked to since middle school, but since they entered high school, things were a little different. Although they were still friends, Luke felt Nick wouldn’t understand. As they keep walking home, Luke keeps these thoughts to himself.  

The next morning Luke wakes up gloomy. His room is filled with old jazz posters and pictures of Bourbon Street he took. As he looks in the mirror, he washes his face and takes two 15mg antidepressants with the label reading take one capsule by mouth daily. He swallows them down with a glass of water from the sink. Afterwards, Luke takes a shower and washes his short golden brown hair but gets shampoo in his pale blue eyes. Cleaning his eyes out, he opens the shower curtain and looks at his phone and says, “Shit! I’m late” 

He dries himself off and quickly gets dressed. He runs to the bus stop and assumes it has already left. Now having to walk all the way to school, he is an hour late, cold, and has forgotten his backpack. It had rained earlier that morning, and the streets of New Orleans smelled like wet concrete and greasy restaurant food. Approaching the front door, he realizes it’s Saturday. His mind is distracted today. Luke walks back home. The sound of the busy street he loved was now just background noise. Entering his home he goes to his room and lays in bed. He puts on his headphones listening to Miles Davis.

Later in the evening, his mother comes home. Luke wants to talk to his mother, but he feels awkward. He takes a deep breath and says, “Hey mom, I need to tell you something.”

“What is it? Are you sick? You look a little pale.”

“Can you please just listen to me? Rick was talking about a girl he likes yesterday, and I think I don…”

 “Are you gay? It’s fine if you are, I mean I still love you. I’ve always thought you were a little too close to Nic …”

“GOD DAMMIT! I’m trying to tell you I don’t feel normal..”

 “Normal how?”

 “Mom let me finish, I don’t feel like…”

“Luke are you going to tell me you don’t feel like a boy?”

 “No I just feel…”

 Luke’s father, John walks in from work and says, “Hello, everyone. It’s nice to see you finally came out of your room.”

“John, Luke wants to tell us something.”

“What is it, champ?”

“You know what, nevermind.” 

“John, I think our son wants to be a girl?” 

“FUCK! I mean, sorry, I’m just shocked oh god, I mean, I still.. we still love you no matter what.”

“I’M NOT TRANS OR GAY, BUT NOW I WISH I WAS BECAUSE IT SEEMS EVERYONE AROUND ME IS AT LEAST SOMETHING, AND I DON’T FEEL ATTRACTED TOWARDS ANYONE AND I DON’T KNOW IF THAT IS NORMAL.”

“Thank god. I wasn’t prepared for that. Luke, what you’re going through is just a phase. Maybe you’ll find the right girl that’s all, you will feel better once you do.”

Luke’s mother smacks John upside the head.

“OW! What was that for?”

“Our son is trying to tell us something and you say thank god I wasn’t prepared!!! What if he was a tranny?”

“Sorry, what do you want me to say? Here’s 50 bucks, go on and buy yourself a dress.”

“It would have been better than thank god!”

Luke’s parents continue to argue, but he angrily mutters.

“Thanks for the advice, real nice talk.”

He goes up to his room, shuts the door and cries in his bed. As he sobs, he thinks to himself, “What if I’ll always feel this way? What if I’m just numb?” He falls asleep to these thoughts. The next day, Luke wakes up, goes to the bathroom, washes his face, and takes a long look in the mirror. All his negative thoughts come together simultaneously. He gets his antidepressants, he swallows twelve 15mg pills. Slowly he begins to lose consciousness and drops to the floor. He faintly hears the door open then his mother’s voice screams.

“JOHN CALL 911!!! Oh god, please. Honey stay with us, oh god please, please I’m so sorry.”