I opened my eyes to the sound of strong gusts of wind hammering rain against my window and my stare met my window as I saw a map drawn on the steamed up glass or so I thought. Squinting, I made out uneven lines and squares - some looking familiar while others not. I rummaged around my night stand before finding my rectangular glasses. Lifting them to my face, outlines grew clear and I examined the scrawly writing of estranged street names. My eyes moved to the left of the map before hearing the air conditioning switch on and the steam dissipate. I gazed out my window as the bleak, morose fog dominated the skies. I scrutinized every passerby or whomever I thought were passing by. My thoughts were incessantly garbled, I was detached: trapped in an inescapable cycle and engulfed by visions, sometimes blurry and other times vividly clear. I had been standing idly facing my window for what seemed to have been a few short moments, but time felt imperceptible. I dragged my scrawny body down the creaky stairs of my house after swallowing my second pill of the day. I heaved my feet towards the front door before being promptly obstructed. “Jason, have you eaten?” my mother asked, a stern look painted her face. I nodded. Words were difficult, speaking was strenuous, which is why I avoided it. My mother’s eyes conferred a look of approval and she proceeded to the dim-lighted living room. I continued walking, opened the front door and set upon the narrow sidewalk. I examined my surroundings closely: a tall woman caught my attention, she was walking a large dog - its colors merged together and I watched aimlessly. The dog’s proximity progressively grew closer. I shuffled my feet in backwards motion, attempting to flee from certain peril. This creature chased after me, exposing its limitless stock of angular teeth. It snarled with a fierce, predatorial fury; a deafening cacophony of passersby' chatter triggered bringing my bony, shaky hands to my ears and shutting my eyes, awaiting imminent demise.
I lifted my heavy eyelids and was met with a man: his striking brown eyes were filled with alarm and he asked “Are you okay? Should I get help?” I scanned the atmosphere restlessly as well as regarding the silence that swallowed the streets and brought my stare back to the man whose expression was awaiting an answer. I shook my head, making no change in expression. He simpered at me before walking off. Thunder roared and rain poured as I looked up at the dark grey clouds. I continued wandering upon the streets that always seemed to bring me an uneasy feeling. My footsteps synchronized with another pair of footsteps - they were timid and dainty. My footsteps were heavy - consumed by a fathomless mass, but they complemented each other. I sought for the source as I felt my skin crawl, and thoughts bombarded me of a newfound anguish about to strike. I had a fixed assurance of danger. Although I couldn’t feel it, time had been moving - and fast. As the minutes or hours flew by, the more intense the feeling of being followed became. I had reached a point where I had come across a park. The trees were shook by the howling gales and I rounded a corner to reach a sheltered area. The weeping willows cowered over me as I brought my pace to a halt. The park was occupied with many families barbecuing and picnicking: or so it had appeared to me. I scurried past dead shrubs to a bench: the white paint was peeling, revealing the rotting wood beneath. I sat upon it. A faint whisper was emitted from behind me, I turned around - startled. My eyes met with an unfamiliar face and I immediately felt my fears dissipate. A teenage boy stood in front of me - around my age; he was plump and soaked, his eyes displayed a sense of drowsiness with swollen eyelids resting on his melancholy, grey eyes. I gazed at him and his stare seemed to miss me completely. I lifted my hand to wave at his figure, but it was far too weak to move. Horrified - I let out a yelp and the boy in front of me flinched. Neither of us were the talkative type. However, something about his disposition made me feel secure and I flatly began rambling - starting on the topic of my favorite books and ending on discussing my dysfunctional family. Mid-sentence, I locked eyes with him and instead of a blank stare he had a look of fascination and contentment. I took comfort in this - I didn’t even need an audible response; a reassuring look was enough to relieve my detachment. He then abruptly introduced himself: “I’m Henry, see you around” and walked off. I stood there wondering whether what I had experienced was real or a figment of my imagination.
It was Wednesday - three days since the encounter with Henry and I had roamed around the local park from time to time meeting with him and talking about all kinds of things. I no longer cared if he was an illusion, he was good company and a person that brought me mirth and solace - a giddy expression when simply feeling seemed impossible. We grew closer, and every day that went by was one worth looking forward to. Today, Henry offered a trip to a coffee shop which I was reluctant to accept, but ultimately gave in. Public places were difficult, they were loud, crowded and suffocating - like I was being submerged in a sea of tortuous water. This experience would amplify the discomfort - my uncertainty with Henry was frightening and a conversation with the second party would express my ultimate lunacy. Henry and I arrived at a local coffee shop; as we walked I felt my lanky body grow tense - not knowing how to accommodate my delusion or moreover my friend...Upon entering the coffee shop and to my surprise, I saw my mother standing in line waiting to pick up her order. She turned around at the sound of the intricate door chime and exclaimed as her eyes were fixed on me “Hey Jason! I was just waiting for my order - do you want something?”. My pale skin grew red at the sheer embarrassment - I had just walked into a coffee shop with a likely figment of my chasmic imagination and was even about to order him a lemon scone? I shook my head in response to my mother’s offer. “Come sit with me, Jason,” she said, pointing to a table in front of a window, “You can bring your friend too.”