Pressure

It was an early autumn evening. The trees started to shed their leaves, signaling the end of summer. That was the worst time of year for Jono, who simply hated it when daylight-saving ends and all of a sudden it’s getting dark much earlier. Jono was sitting in his car, driving back home from another hectic day at work. Tiny tears were dripping down his cheeks, his head aching, and he could even feel his heart racing to a point he forced himself to slow down and regain his focus on the road. The music coming out of his ‘Inspiration’ playlist on Spotify did not seem to encourage his mood at all, as he kept pushing the forward button, unsatisfied, skipping from one song to another. 

“I have to do something” Jono thought to himself, recalling some of the self-motivation videos he recently watched on YouTube. “It is my life we’re talking about, MY LIFE, and it just feels like it is going to waste. I’m going to regret this for sure. I got to change something…” he mumbled to himself, “I have to… otherwise…”. But whenever Jono reflected on his situation and tried to push himself out of it, the doubts kept creeping in. I’m a failure. I won’t be able to make it. People rely on me, they need me. I can’t just leave, can I. Standing still at the traffic light, Jono wondered, “What if I go away just like that, disappear into the sunset. What would people say?”. It was always about others, never about him. He knew that was part of the problem, not allowing him to just be who he really wanted to be. What would his friends think about him, his work colleagues, and most importantly – how would his family react? In his own mind, he has always been working so hard to live up to expectations of others, ensuring everybody around him are happy, no matter what. How can he disappoint them like that? 

At the next intersection, he stopped and recollected his thoughts. ‘Let’s consider all the options’ Jono said out loud, as if he’s the presenter of a cheap reality show. He could hear his own analytical mind ticking along, processing all the information, attempting to come up with a distinguished resolution. Right turn is heading towards the highway, where he can drive for miles without any exit in sight, away from the city and everything else. Left turn, that’s a short way to Despair Cliff, as the locals name it. Straight ahead, the road will take him back home to his wife and kids. Jono closed his eyes and took a very deep breath. He hesitated, remained still at the stop sign for a very long moment. Suddenly he noticed police car headlights behind him. Time to make a decision. Sigh. He turned the steering wheel in one direction, pushing hard on the accelerator so he won’t have a chance to change his mind. This is it.

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