Fools, Friends, and the Great Beyond
Tom Jolu
Tour Journal: The Voice

Tour Journal: The Voice

TW: Suicidal thoughts, ideation

I turned the keys to the ignition to see the time. It was 6PM and I could see my breath. I didn’t want to turn the van on ‘cause I was low on gas, and I’d been making a habit of sitting in the parking lot well past office hours. After three months, I still wasn’t used to this nine-to-five thing. The longer I sit the more I feel that something is not right, and hasn’t been right for a long time. I thought getting a break from working two jobs that added up to twelve to fifteen hours a day was the answer. I thought that all I needed was one full-time job and I wouldn’t be burnt out. I thought this job would rejuvenate me, bring me peace, let me live my life.  I thought that this job would be the answer to all of my problems. But it’s only added to them.

    Besides spending two hours of my day in a meeting, trying to coordinate the efforts of our team to chop at the workload more efficiently, my day was spent like every other day: sitting in front of a computer screen, trying to get contractors to inspect properties that we managed. The load was growing and it didn’t show any sign of stopping. The management team had accepted too many new clients with too much work, and if I was to be honest, I didn’t care about any of it. . . . .
    Every second of my job feels pointless. I want out.
    Maybe it’s the fact that we’re overworked, underpaid, and management is toxic. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m not instantly proficient at my job, or maybe it’s that, even though it’s almost been a year, I’m still not over getting fired from my job last year.
    It was equally as pointless as this one, but at least it was easy. I was good at it. At least I could write at work. At least, after working a twelve hour shift, I could see physical proof of the things that I did.
    Here all I do is send emails and call potential contractors. I can feel my manager watching me. I feel like a complete Fuck-up, and even when I try to ignore it, I can’t. Everything just compounds to this ball of self hate. The only time I don’t feel her watching me is when my one coworker comes into her office and they talk shit about the rest of the staff.

. . .

    I drove down the steep hill from work and stopped at the stop sign. To the left was a sharp turn that led further down the hill; in front of me stood a guardrail. On the other end of the guardrail was a drop. It wasn’t much, twenty to thirty feet at most, but lately, every time I stopped at the stop sign, I wondered how fast I would have to go break the guardrail and reach the ground.
    I remember one day a snowstorm hit and we all were able to leave work early. A thin layer of snow covered the road, and as I slid, just for a moment, my hands left the wheel, until the car behind me blared their horn.
    In the car I found on Facebook that one of my friends was playing at a bar. I didn’t want to go home, so I decided I’d stay out and watch them play.
    Two drinks, I thought.
  I sat at the bar, three beers in, writing. I don’t know what, but at least it was something. 

. . .

Lately it’s been hard to write anything. Most of the time, instead of writing, I sit, and with my notebook open, I stare into my beer hoping to find the words in the bubbles. I can usually shit out a couple of sentences, but I’ve been burnt out for so long that I don’t know how to form anything that means anything to me. The well is dry, but I’ve been burnt out for so long, I don’t know if there’s anything left inside me to give. But one day after work I decided that since, out of habit, I always bring my notebooks along, I might as well get some use out of them. So, no poetry, no songs, just the facts. 

. . .

I don’t know if it was the music, or if it was the atmosphere of the room, or it was the fact that I was actually writing, but I was feeling good.  I pounded the last half of my fourth beer and wanted to chase this feeling wherever it went. My brain was saying this feeling was telling me to go to another bar. So I paid my tab, put on my coat and walked to a bar closer to home.
    The more  I walked, the better I felt, So I decided against the bar and to just walk home. Pulse It was almost midnight, and though I could still see my breath, it felt nice outside.

Halfway across the river I stopped to rest and to look at the city lights in the water. They twinkled like flakes of gold, but at the bottom of that river a quiet, seductive voice that I hadn’t heard in a year said something. I leaned in, expecting it to get louder until I heard it.
    Jump, it said.
    I stood there, waiting to hear the voice again. I waited to hear my voice to fight it, to exclaim that I didn’t want to, that I didn’t need to, that there was no way I would ever do it, but all the only response was the silence of a person considering to take an offer.
    It wouldn’t be that hard, the voice said. You’ve got nothing but this shit job and no way out. You’re stuck at the bottom and life has done nothing but keep you down. It’s a sign, a message that this is where you belong. All the way at the bottom of the river. So why don’t you take the chance while it’s here?I backed up away from the edge and turned. I walked away fast, trying not to think about what I had just thought. Though the voice seemed apart from me, I knew it was a part of me. I kept watching the college kids walking in the opposite direction, trying to think of them, think of their night of their lives, trying to make up stories. I kept asking myself questions: What were their names? Where were they going? Was there a party in one of the frat houses? But no matter how hard I tried to distract myself, when my sight strayed from the road ahead, every fire escape, every building top, every oncoming car that I saw, was a way out. I was walking faster, trying to get home, trying to think if I still had any pot left. I tried to think of myself smoking it, tried to think of myself going in the kitchen to snoop for some food. I knew that if it was there, it would knock me out. I just had to not think about anything else.
Just keep walking. I thought. Even if I’m on edge, even if everything is falling apart, I can’t do it. I don’t know why. I don’t know why I shouldn’t. I don’t know why I wouldn’t, or maybe it’s ‘cause I couldn’t. I just want to sleep. I don’t want to think about this anymore. I don’t want to think anymore. I don’t want to…