Through the Pages

Dear Stranger,

Most people rarely know what’s going on inside a person. I think it’s different for us. It doesn’t make much sense, but I can feel it in my bones. You know me inside and out… I guess that isn’t honorable because you only  got that knowledge by watching me… following me. Stalking me. You couldn’t stay away. I think you’ve fallen in love with me. That’s what’s in your head. Do you know what’s in mine though? I bet you do, but I’ll tell you just in case. I used to hate you, I don’t anymore but I did. How could I not? I mean I didn’t know who you were, I still don’t… not really, but I think I’m learning. You were a stranger then though, and I couldn’t see you; couldn’t talk to you. I used to be scared of you and I was so alone. No one believed me when I told them. I guess that’s when things changed. Everybody abandoned me, but you didn’t. You always stayed. I can envision you in my mind; I can hear you… breathing, walking, even talking. I’ve never heard your voice, but I can imagine it. It’s comforting, knowing you’re there. You’re always there and I know I’m safe. I’ve fallen in love with you now. I don’t think I can recover. You’ll always follow me., but I’ll never hide. One day I hope you’ll catch me.

I stare at the paper in front of me. I’ve written so many letters for this person, each one longer than the last, and not once have I gotten one in return. It almost makes me angry , but I just don’t have it in me. How can I? They’re still with me. Always. Their presence is my only constant. I can hear their footsteps.. Feel their breath on my neck. We’re sharing air and space; I couldn’t get away from them if I tried. I wouldn’t ever make the effort – at least not for real. Part of me wants to though. I turn back to the page and write as much.

I wonder if you know. Do you know that part of me wants to run away, but I never would. Afterall, it’s like I said before: I love you. It’s kind of funny. You’re the reason I’m alone, but I can’t leave you behind. The idea of you is all that keeps me going. They all told me you were a figment of my imagination. I don’t believe them. Could a mere hallucination be the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning? I don’t think it could. My mom tried so hard to convince me you weren’t real. She’s still trying I think, but I’ve stopped answering her when she calls. She just kept telling me I needed to get help. I couldn’t take it anymore. That’s what I’d tried to do in the first place: get help because I was being followed. She wanted me to talk to a counselor. When I started to love you, she got even more worried; she told me I should check myself into a psych ward. “Just for a little while. Please,” she’d said. I didn’t do it. Now she calls me multiple times a day to beg. I just let it ring through. She’s filled up my voicemail. Can’t you see that I’d do anything for you? When will you let me meet you for real? I-

A loud knock pulls me from my letter. I sigh and stand from my desk. The front door swings open under my hand to reveal my mother. Speak of the devil and he shall appear.. She isn’t alone though. There are people in white scrubs flanking her on either side. 

“I’m so sorry, Declan. I didn’t want it to come to this, but I don’t have a choice anymore,” her eyes are sad and her voice, desperate. “You’ve taken this fantasy too far; these people are here to help you.”

I start to protest, but before I can even get a word out, the scrubs converge on me. As the hands wrap around my arms and pull me away my last thought is my stranger.