“Wait, I am not sure I understand. You saw her?”
“I saw her.”
“I am. Do I look like I am lying?”
His eyes burned with righteous indignation.
“You think you saw her, then.”
“I am not crazy.”
“You never know.”
A sharp intake of breath.
“You have never not believed me before.”
“You have never said anything this unbelievable before.”
I stood up. This was going nowhere.
“Wait! We can go there together! We can see her! Maybe she will be –”
“We can’t see dead people, Sam.”
I knew him well enough. I only believe what I see, and what I see I believe.
Dr Edwards’ words came to mind: You should support your partner in all times of crisis.
Sound advice. But indulging in and encouraging a delusion was not a line I wanted to cross. Nor should it ever be. It would be a betrayal. A backstab to sanity. Of his and mine and ours.
Sally Evans. Husband's ex-fiancee. My close friend. Dead.
Never found the body. Sam was devastated. Depressed.
The crystal clear smile in which I would see my hopeless love reflect- shattered.
What was once perfect and blinding was now all cracks and shadows.
So I helped him. Picked up the pieces. Loved him. All of him.
Quod tuum est, est meum.
What is yours, is mine.
Bore with him his pain, his regrets, his broken heart. And so, the pieces slowly came together. And the pieces fit.
Past the darkness. Life begins anew, albeit with a scar. But a scar to treasure, and occasionally reflected upon as a relic of nostalgia.
The pieces had fit.
Until that scar had uglily crawled back from the past to the present. Disrupting the clarity once again, marring the symmetry of the pieces that had fit.
Sally was a good friend. I envied her. But she was good. As good as good friends are.
I was at Grey Boulevard and I was stupid.
Two statements equally true and intrinsically connected. One begets the other.
I had sinned against my beliefs. Full disclosure: we were "searching for Sally". But don't be mistaken, it means nothing. My actions were not based on any re-evaluation of the delusion- it was merely a tactical decision. Being witness to something not happening- confirming a falsehood. Cold-cut, precise logic.
But that is a lie. Logic has little to do with it.
Empathy. Pity. Frustration.
Watching the lost expression on the haggard face of the one you love tears you apart. You are there but they are not there. By simply existing, the delusion devalues you even further. Adultery of the mind. Sam was cavorting with his hallucinations. It made my head hurt, my heart ache.
And the biggest sin: curiosity.
The most hardcore rationalist will drop everything to catch a glimpse of a "miracle"; a staunch atheist is fascinated by the concept of God; the preachers of love are obsessed with acts of hate.
I was empathetic, frustrated, curious and wanted to make sure that the pieces fit.
Sam was in the store to buy us some drinks. He was being extra obliging. Haughtily relenting and acting as if I was doing him some favor had worked exceedingly well. Delusion or not, being pampered is always great. Undivided attention- every fiber of one's being wanting to please, wanting validation from the other- that act itself validating the existence of the latter.
One exists when one is observed.
The calculation had seemingly paid off. Sam's assertions had mellowed during the course of the day, as his delusion had made a no-show. Confidence had given way to frustration and finally an almost content disappointment. It would be easy to convince oneself that this was for the better. We all crave simplicity. A hallucination or two being much more acceptable than an undead ex-fiancee.
I stretched. Much of the built up tension dissipated. Deep breath. I felt at peace. The sky was darkening.
I turned to look at the last remnants of the sunset and saw Sally Evans.
It seemed as though she was smiling.
The fact that the figure silhouetted against the crimson backdrop was Sally Evans was unquestionable. It was pointless to even try to refute it. If there was one thing I knew to be true within every fiber of my being, it was that she was Sally Evans.
The only thing that stood in the way of this unquestionable truth was the simple fact that she was dead.
I only believe what I see, and what I see I believe.
There is something to be said about truths: they are often false. An unemployed druggie living in his parents basement knows that the world is flat; the old senile man who is the laughing stock of his local bar knows that the world is controlled by shape-shifting reptiles. They are known truths to them: but then, truth is but a belief of utmost conviction. A trick of the mind.
I know she is Sally Evans, I see her and I believe it, but that's just what it is: a belief.
Red dress billowing in the wind, as if calling out to me. The truth was within reach, within walking distance. Half a mile and the end of a paradox. Closure.
The pieces had fit. The pieces that had been shaken recently, that now were renewing their symmetry. And the very foundation of the pieces coming together was one basic assertion: that Sally Evans was dead.
Take that out and everything crumbles down.
I turned away. Sam was back with a sheepish smile on his face. In his hand were two bottles, none of which resembled something I would like.
"Sorry, they didn't have the mango one."
His outstretched hands: guava and grapes. Choose your poison.
I reluctantly took the guava one. Glanced. The sun had disappeared and so had Sally Evans.
Existence is a result of observation. Interaction. Once you are subjected to neither, you may as well be a floating consciousness, a thing of questionable veracity. A myth whose only believer is oneself. Invisible. For all intents and purposes, dead.
One exists when one is observed.
Thus I killed Sally Evans.