I looked at him, wanting to kiss him again, wanting to kiss him forever. He hugged me tighter in his sleep and I only smiled. I was a girl with complication, as hard as it is to believe, I had no friends, at all. People hated me and I hated them. The world was filled with crazy, how did I manage to find one sane person? One perfect person!
I still remember that day, when the rain was falling heavily and I had no umbrella. I was walking faster, searching for a tree to rest under until the rain stop. I am happy it lasted longer.
He came running to that tree and stood there. I made sure to let him know that I was not interested in talking with him through my expression.
“You make me question my existence,” he said, rubbing his hands for some warmth.
I frowned at him, “Excuse me?”
He dramatically sighed a relief, “So, you can see me? Thank the gods.”
“Can we please shut up and get lost when the rain stops?” I said, turning away from him.
“Woah, what happened? Did someone die?” he said funnily.
I rolled my eyes, “Whoever said that you have a good sense of humor, lied to you.”
He still smiled, “Seriously, did someone die?”
“Man, leave me alone. I like to be alone. That is what happened,” I said angrily.
He shook his head, “Nobody dear, nobody likes to be alone. You want friends but you find all the people around you either stupid or fake.”
Exactly, I thought but didn’t say it. I kept quite because I wanted him to go on. He had caught my attention.
He read my silence and continued, “Your family doesn’t understand you, at all. They think that you are anti-social, that you don’t have any manners.”
For the first time in a very long time, tears came to my eyes. Thank god, it was raining. I always knew all those things, but to hear it from someone, it was different.
“So, you keep distance with people. You let them hate you and you try to hate them because you think it is much easier this way. You try to be strong and never show your vulnerable side. Like right now, how you are glad that it is raining because you think that I cannot see your tears.”
I looked at him, surprised.
He smiled again, “It takes more than eyes to see the soul. To feel it.”
And that is how it started. Soon, as fate had decided, we fell in love. He made me meet his parents and they were the loveliest people I ever met; everything I wanted my family to be. He made me meet his friends and they were exactly like the people I always wanted to befriend. He transformed my world, he changed it from hell to heaven.
He insisted on meeting my parents but I couldn’t let him. My parents would never accept him as he was from different religion. So, he started to sneak into my room at night. I was scared at first but now, it was a month since he did it. Now, I was only glad that he came, every night, to make me feel special.
He hugged me tighter again in his sleep and I kissed him on his nose. Suddenly, there was a knock on my door. I checked the time; it was 3 AM. I started to panic. I woke him up and let him jump from the window as the knocks behind me increased.
I tried to calm down, messed up my hair and opened the door, pretending to be asleep. It was my dad and his breaths told me that he was drinking.
“Can I come in, sweetheart?” he said, smiling.
He used to call me ‘sweetheart’ when I was a kid. Why did it start all again suddenly? It only made me more scared.
I nodded, pretending to yawn. He sat on my bed and looked at me, “Don’t you think you should stop it, dear?”
He said so politely with the most compassionate smile. What the hell was he talking about?
“Stop what, dad?” I managed to find my voice.
He rubbed the space next to him with his palm, gesturing me to come and sit next to him. My legs were never heavier. I sat and looked at him, afraid that he could hear my heartbeats.
“Locking your room and talking with whomever you are talking,” he said politely.
I thought I was going to have a heart attack.
“Your mom and I knew all along. It started a month ago, right? We thought that it is fine as long as it helps you to deal with people. We thought it would stop but it never does. We are worried, sweetheart.”
My legs started to shiver. They knew all along and they were fine with it?
He continued, “What would society say, dear, if they hear that my 24-year daughter has-” he paused and hesitated, searching for a right word “has an imaginary friend or a lover.”
I looked at him, more surprised than ever.
I managed to say, “Imaginary?”
He waved off his hand, “Whatever it is. But don’t you think it should stop?”
“Dad,” I said and paused, “He is real; flesh and blood.”
His expression changed from calmness to being worried.
He tried to check if I was joking but I had never been more serious.
“Sweetheart,” he said and I could see how worried his voice was, “Your mom and I used to hear your conversation sometimes. You talked with yourself.”
I never had more goosebumps on my body.
It all started then. They took me to the hospital the next day. And after several days, the doctor told my parents, “Your daughter is suffering from schizophrenia.”
My mom looked at my dad confused. Dad closed his eyes and tried to take in the words.
The doctor looked at my mom and said, “It is a disease in which a person usually can’t differentiate what is real. The symptoms are anti-social behavior, hallucination”- he continued explaining. I wasn’t listening to him. I was lost in a train of thoughts.
I was given medicines that were going to cure me. That was going to turn my world from heaven to hell, again. I didn’t believe them, at all. He was real to me, I mean, how couldn’t he be? I started calling his number but the number didn’t exist. I was force-fed the medicines and was kept under strict observation. Every night, I cried, longing for his presence.
Months later, I was set free. I quickly went to his house but there was only one very old broken building which had been there since ages. I went to the restaurant where his friends usually came and there was nothing but a big rock. I cried and cried, not able to believe what was unfolding before my eyes.
I went home and as soon as I saw my dad, I hugged him and cried.
“Sweetheart, this is real,” my dad said as he rubbed my back.
“But that world was so much better,” I said crying.
“But it is the world you created. We always imagine a perfect world, the difference is, you lived it. I cannot imagine how one can leave the perfect world after living it. But it is time to come back to reality. No matter how good a book is, one day, you have to close the book.”
Every night, I messaged in his number, telling him how I feel. The message failed but I still hoped that he read it. Soon, I started throwing my medicines, pretending to eat it in front of my parents. It was weeks I had stopped taking the medicine. One night, my phone rang with his number. I cried and instead of responding, I started to pack my bag.
I sneaked out of my house and went to his home. His house was there like it had been before. I knocked on his door urgently and it opened, he was standing there with a smile, and tears in his eyes. I was never happier. I hugged him so tight and started to cry.
“You make me question my existence,” he said, the first words he had spoken to me.
“I don’t know what is real anymore,” I said, crying.
“What do you believe?” he asked, whispering.
“In you,” I said, without hesitation.
He looked at me, with his palms on my cheeks, “That is all that matters.”
He told me and kissed me on the lip.