I can’t sleep. A masked man keeps tapping on my window, and he’s keeping me awake. Every time I close my eyes, he starts up again. Tap, tap, tap. The doctors told me to ignore people like him - the ones who don’t make sense. They say they’re all in my head, but I still can’t sleep.
He’s wearing one of those full-faced ski masks that bank robbers wear in old movies, and all I can see are his eyes. I can’t pick out the color from here, but they’re wrinkled at the edges, and they’re staring at me through the glass.
It’s a figment of my imagination, but my hands are still shaking. I can’t help being scared, even when everyone says I shouldn’t be. They can’t hurt you, the doctors and nurses all promise. Still, I’m not going anywhere near that window.
Tap, tap tap. God, it’s maddening.
A dog’s barking nearby, and I wonder if it can see the figment of my imagination, loitering on my window sill in the middle of the night.
Most people don’t know what it’s like to distrust their own senses. I’m not like most people. My brain likes to play tricks on me sometimes.
Today Doctor Conner upped my dosage. I told him about last week, when someone with a red scruffy afro, a striped tie, and oversized shoes followed me on a walk through the park.
“Was it a clown?” he asked, and I could feel my face burning when I nodded. You can’t make this shit up, Doctor Conner. But I can, with a little help from the misfiring synapses in my brain.
I guess I’ll be visiting the ol’ Doc again tomorrow. If the meds don’t work, maybe I can sign up for a lobotomy. Maybe then I’ll get some sleep.
I hate visiting the doctor. I hate the sterile smell of the waiting room and sifting through sticky old magazines while a nurse banters on about how her ex won’t stop calling. I hate waiting for pricey prescriptions I know I can’t afford.
My parents offered to pay for treatment, of course. It would be little more than a blip for the estate, but still, I hesitated to ask. There’s always a cost to their generosity. But the tap, tap, tapping on my window won’t go away without a chemical reaction that flips a switch in my agitated brain. It’s time. It’s long past time, actually.
The old-timey bank robber is trying to lift the window sill, but it’s locked. He’s wearing black gloves, even though ghosts can’t leave fingerprints. I’m trying to ignore him.
Doctor Conner’s nice enough, I suppose. He says that the meds will kick in soon, and I’ll be as close to normal as anyone else. Until then, it’s okay to observe, as long as I don’t interact with the hallucinations, he said. That can be dangerous.
Yesterday, I saw a kid standing like a statue in the middle of the road sucking on a bright red popsicle with a bus barreling toward him. I almost ran into the road to grab him before I caught myself, and sure enough, the bus sped right on through him. The kid just laughed, licked his popsicle, and skipped down the road.
It’s been getting worse for a while now, but I didn’t want to admit that the line separating reality from fiction has been fading. I thought I could just draw it again, but I’m not sure I remember what it looks like anymore.
A couple of weeks ago, I started seeing Marcus. We met outside of Cafe Olé. I was sipping on a warm chai latte, absorbed in a book I can’t even remember the name of. When I looked up, he was sitting on the other side of the table, staring at me. I jumped and spilled the latte all over my lap.
“I’m sorry about that. I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said while I was busy dabbing at my dress with a fistful of napkins. “I thought you were someone else.” He sounded embarrassed.
He looked like he was about 10 years older than me, but his ocean blue eyes had a smile in them that put me at ease immediately. After a few more awkward apologies, he stood up to leave, then paused and said, “I’m new to town, and the thing that just happened - it’s not an isolated incident. I feel like I’m always heading in the wrong direction, you know?” he laughed. “Are you free tomorrow night? I could really use a tour guide.”
I should’ve looked around before I answered. Maybe I would’ve seen people staring at the crazy lady talking to herself.
We were inseparable before he disappeared completely, back into the depths of my madness, I suppose. People call it, “ghosting” these days, but in my case, the definition’s more literal. He never existed, so I suppose he never left either. Still, I didn’t see it coming. Still, it hurts.
The masked criminal is determined to break into my bedroom. Apparently, he realized he was outmatched by the locked window, and he’s tapping on the glass with a hammer now. Tick, tick, tick.
I don’t like the way he’s looking at me. I went to the zoo once and watched the tigers feed. It’s the same way the tigers looked at the raw and bloody beef before they were released from their cages.
Maybe I could call Doctor Connor. Maybe I should call the police? They may get here and see an empty windowsill, but what are they going to do? Tell me I’m crazy?
Tell me something I don’t know.
The hammer’s getting louder now, and I just heard the glass break. It’s breaking. The window’s breaking, and I’m afraid to look up. It’s not real, diary. He’s not real. I’m fucking crazy and scared, and I wish the meds would work. I wish I could sleep. I wish I didn’t hear his footsteps on the carpet. The sound of heavy breathing.
I wish I couldn’t see the color of his eyes. Ocean blue--