…‘Yeah, I know. Well, anyway, inside the box was a note. It read ‘We will find her, and you will help’.
I just want to stop this little reverie and say I knew you were lying. I could tell, it sounded rehearsed, it sounded unfinished, that statement. I digress.
‘What did it mean,’you will help’?’
‘I don’t know, I still have no idea. I know that it was probably a sick joke, that the dark feeling I got when receiving it at first was simply a fear of the unknown, perhaps a little excitement’.
You lied so hard. (Dear S: Part 5)
I decided it was easier to just go along with you at this point, rather than trying to argue and get the truth out of you. So I listened to your little theories and I watched your concerned pathetic face twist into agonized worries, though all the while all I could think about was the boy and when he would return.
I acted as normal as I could, though you probably wouldn’t have noticed either way, you were so wrapped up in your own storytelling. We ate the cold dinner I had prepared hours before, and you said you had to leave and meet a new date you had been texting for a few weeks now. Convenient timing, I thought.
After you left I locked the door, shut all my blinds, turned out every light in the house, and sat in my room waiting.
The things that run through your mind when all you have is anticipation and darkness to hold on to are typically worse than the thing you are anticipating, or the darkness you are hiding in. I remember thinking about my roommate, and whether or not she was still breathing. I thought about you, and whether or not I even wanted you to still be breathing. And then I thought about them, who they really were, and why they even wanted you to help them anyway.
After several hours I thought I was finally putting it all together, I had a hunch of why they wanted me and why they recruited you. I always thought that there was something special about me, about the way I thought. Of course, special people always draw special attention, and apparently the way I thought brought the attention of those interested in darker things. They only asked you for help because you are superstitious and self-centered enough to ensure nothing ill befell yourself, they knew that if you helped them you would think they would leave you alone. You always were kind of dense.
I was about to finally drift off to sleep when I felt a gentle touch on my leg and started. It was the boy.
He was sitting on the edge of my bed, blinking in and out like usual, only wearing an expression I had never seen before. It was..happiness. It was pure bliss.
He kept a hand on my leg as he pointed to the window and squeezed a little, sort of like a pat of encouragement.
I looked out the window but saw nothing from my bed, so I slowly got up to stand near it. it didn’t take me long to see exactly what had made him so happy; it was a group of people, I think 5 total, sitting in the tree waving enthusiastically at me.
They had found me.
Finally, they knew where I was, and they seemed ecstatic to see me. I too was ecstatic to see them. I mean, finally I was meeting them, I was meeting those who needed me and my way of thinking so badly. Those who used my roommate, my best friend, and my own sense of impending dread to frighten me all those days before. They were here. It was over, all the anticipation and confusion. It was time to give them exactly what they wanted.
I turned to the boy with a smile on my face but he was gone, and as soon as I turned back to the window so were the people. I didn’t care at this point, I was so tired and so relieved and I simply felt at home for once, relaxed in my own skin, my own mind, knowing that they were here, somewhere near me.
I remember drifting off to sleep with my phone in my hand, ready to text you and let you know that you did a wonderful job leading them to me and that since they no longer needed you, they would kill you…
When I woke up the room was bright, unbearably fluorescent, and not my own.
I was strapped into a gurney-like bed, and sweat had matted my hair to my forehead. A nurse was putting something into my IV, which frightened me so I swatted it away.
‘Dear, we’ve been over this, there is no way you are going to get better if you don’t allow us to help you’.
She picked the IV back up and started injected the liquid she was holding. I immediately felt calm, less sweaty, more relaxed. I tried to remember the night before, the people outside the window, and what could have possibly brought me to this place.
‘Where is S? Where is the boy? Did the people come to see me?’ I stuttered sleepily through the haze of the drugs.
The nurse looked at me tenderly, almost as if I were a sick puppy found stranded on the highway. ‘Let me call the doctor in, I think he can help answer your questions’, she said sweetly.
About 10 hazy minutes later a man strode into the room with a confident smile and a tall glass of orange juice.
‘Good morning, sunshine. I see you have had another episode. The nurse tells me you were trying to get out of your window all night long last night. That’s quite alright, you have been doing so well for so long, we knew there would be a set back soon’.
‘A setback? Why am I even here? Can you contact my friend, S? I think she will want to know where I am’. I tried to sound sincere, but even I knew she wouldn’t give a shit where I was.
The doctor sighed what sounded like his hundredth sigh of the day, though it couldn’t be much past 8 am.
‘There is no S, I am sorry. There is no boy, and there are no people. You were checked in to the Carpenter Institute for the Mentally Ill 27 days ago. You were found in your dorm room screaming, lashing your own arms, and yelling for ‘S’. You swore there were people after you, and you swore the boy would find you.’
The doctor took a break from speaking and looked out the window. ‘The boy you are always speaking of, your brother, we assume, is dead. You have been writing letters to a fictional friend named ‘S’ since you’ve been admitted, since he has died, and we have kept them all for you to read in moments like this’.
I sat there stunned, amazed that someone had gone through the lengths that they had to set this up, to make me feel crazy, to make others sure I was crazy. There was no way I had been here for 27 days, just last night I was talking to S and laying in my own bed, in my own apartment. I had a brother, and while I hadn’t seen him in quite some time (college kept us busy), I knew he was alright.
The doctor cleared his throat and brought my reverie, sitting the glass of orange juice and a cup full of colorful pills at my side.
‘Take these, I promise you will feel better’, and with that, he left the room, with one final look behind him and a last minute ‘I will see you in session later’.
Instead of freaking out, instead of crying and moaning and trying to get loose, I just sat there. I knew this was all a ploy, a scheme to control me and my thoughts just a little bit longer. I laughed as I looked at the pills, dumping them into my pillowcase as I gulped the orange juice. I grabbed a pen and notepad sitting by my desk.