Okay, guys, I didn’t quite like that ending I posted a few days ago. If you’d like to read it and compare, here’s the link.
Here’s my second go at it. Which do you prefer?
End of part 5…
…‘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)
After you left that night I spent what I felt like was an eternity lying in bed, getting up only to get water, a few bites of food, and to relieve myself. I occasionally glanced out the window, but I don’t know what I was hoping to see. Anything, I suppose.
I resigned myself to thinking you only lied out of fear, and that it couldn’t all be your fault. I also resigned myself to thinking the boy would never return, that he would just leave me in this bed, waiting and wondering for the rest of my life.
By the time I had gotten up the motivation to actually get up and start living again it had been a week. If you are still keeping track, S, that means it was Day 24, just 3 days ago.
Do you remember me telling you about the random, obscure things popping up for me earlier this month, like the owl?
Well, I think I figured those things out. They had to do with you, and I only know that because that day, day 24, I saw them again.
That day when I got out of bed I took a shower first and washed the stench of depression, anxiety, and despair off me. Then I made an actual breakfast, eggs and bacon, and I sat near the window watching the trees outside. I guess in just a week I had missed the initial color change fall brought, and it made me happy to see a tinge of yellow popping up. I was listening to the tv blaring from the next room trying to catch up with the past week’s world news when I saw it.
It was an owl. I’m sure it was real, it was sitting atop the closest branch to the window. I was staring at it, waiting for it to blink, when it hit me. You were the reason it was there! It was you!
Do you remember when we first met each other? It was at that downtown festival that was hosting local zoo animals, of which apparently we were both obsessed with. I saw you standing over by the aviation section, just staring at an owl. It was almost like you were in a trance. I walked over and started staring too, and eventually one of us struck up a conversation about how fascinating a creature they were.
I think the owl was there as a sort of warning, as an omen to either reach out to you or to cut you off completely. Which one, I wasn’t too sure.
I watched it for hours, but it never moved. It never blinked, it never made as sound. I remember I looked away when the phone rang, and when I looked back it was gone. I didn’t answer the phone, for all I know it could have been you. Instead, I went back to bed.
The boy woke me up the next day. He was chipper. It made me highly uncomfortable to see him smile. He pointed out to the tree outside the window, only this time there was no owl, no joy-bringing perk of yellow leaves. No, this time there were 3 people sitting on the branch like it was the most comfortable, normal thing to be doing.
I knew it instantly, it was them.
They had finally found me. Just two days ago, they found me.
It all happened so fast after that, but everything made so much sense.
‘They’ didn’t want me. They never did. They were there for you. You had said you received a box, that it was dark, that they were coming. You never told me why, you just told me what the note said: ‘We will find her, you will help’.
They were looking for YOU. The box was meant for me, not for you. I knew you had lied about it, I could tell, I just couldn’t place what the lie was or what the point of the lie was. You were afraid, it was that simple. You wanted me to feel all the worry, all the fear that you had felt this past month.
As I came to this realization I felt unreasonably tired, perhaps because all I did anymore was sleep and overthink. My body ached, my head ached, and most of all, my heart ached, for you.
When I woke up I wasn’t in my bed but in a hospital bed.
Sweat had matted my hair to my forehead. A nurse was putting something into my IV, which frightened me so I swatted it away.
‘Honey, 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 (or was it nights?) 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 lost 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 foggy 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’.
The doctor sighed what sounded like his hundredth sigh of the day, though it couldn’t be much past 8 am.
‘You were checked in to the Carpenter Institute for the Mentally Ill 27 days ago. You were found in your apartment 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. He looked so tired.
‘This is the part I always hate telling you, but you need to hear it again. Your friend ‘S’, Sophie, is dead. She committed suicide 27 days ago and since then you’ve created your own little mystery in your head. This happens quite often, it’s simply your own way of coping with things’.
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 you were dead, I had just spoken to you a week ago! I even remember what you were wearing, how you smelled, how your nose twitched as you told me that story about the box…
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’.
I just sat there. I knew this was all a ploy, a scheme to control me just a little bit longer so that they could eventually find you. 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.