Tom chooses to stay home and do his work rather than go to a movie with his wife because he wants to get a raise at his job that he is competing with others to get.
Tom kisses his wife goodbye and when the door closes the gust of wind blows his paper out the window.
The paper has moths of work and statistics on it. He contemplates getting it because he knows it is risky to go out onto the ledge but he goes anyway.
Tom initially goes out to retrieve the paper carefully, but without much concern. As Tom bends down to retrieve the paper, the true danger of his situation becomes clear as he views the street 11 stories below him. He is then paralyzed by his fear, and unable to move.
After Tom sees how far up he actually is how freezes and can't move and has to encourage himself to move again. He kept thinking in his head that he was going to fall and eventually he trips and fell onto his knees.
When Tom breaks the window and gets back inside he gets up and decides to go see his wife. What is ironic about this moment is that when he goes to leave the yellow paper flies out the window again which was the reason he almost died in the first place.