The stillness. The sounds of cars rushing by on the road, the street lights flood in through my windows. Blowpop curls up in my lap, purring and meowing when I stop rubbing for merely a second. I wear nothing more than an oversized shirt and underwear that should’ve been disposed of a long time ago.
And then it begins. The voices. The sadness. It’s all been so LOUD recently. Nighttimes are the worst. The red-eyed man hides in the living room, so I often isolate myself into my bedroom past sundown. It’s safe. The creatures don’t often come into my room. We have Eli who likes the closet and a select few who remain hidden in the shadows of the bathroom, but most of them know my bed is my safe spot.
M doesn’t want me left alone at nights anymore. He feels better when he’s next to me, as if his presence would prevent drastic actions on my behalf. Who knows, maybe it would.
He’ll wrap his arms around my back and I’ll inhale his neck – there I feel safe. I feel as if nothing can hurt me. But then, they start again. The emotions and the hallucinations are interchangeable. Sometimes, the emotions begin the spiral. Sometimes, it’s the hallucinations.
The sadness has been unbearable recently. The feeling that my life is over and that I’ll never amount to anything. The feeling that even if it weren’t for Radish, I still wouldn’t have (but honestly, she did make me clean up my act significantly). The feeling that I will fail everything. that my returning to school is a waste. That my jobs will fire me. That people around me will leave. It crushes me. I either disassociate or cry – those are my only two options.
I never meant for M to see me like this, but here we are. The weight of the sadness has built up and built up and built up and now I feel my ribs popping beneath its weight. I can’t talk about how I feel. My emotions are a mess. I wanted him to see me as someone stronger. I wanted him to see me as whole.
He tells me that I’m both his best friend and the love of his life nearly every day. I have no doubts that he truly loves and cares for me. I can’t imagine my life without him. He tells m every little thought that pops into his head throughout the day. It’s precious – one of our rituals is upon rejoining at the end of the night, we tell each other everything, no matter how small, that happened that day. I had a student learn a new skill? I tell him. He burnt a hole in his shirt welding something? He tells me. Baby kicked at an inconvenient time? I tell him. He saw a cool car passing by? He tells me.
Yet, our conversations have still remained interesting and one of my favorite parts of the day. We’ll often trail into nothingness. One of his classmates could have worn a blue shirt that didn’t compliment him and we would talk about that for thirty minutes. We sometimes bicker, but nothing so far has been an issue that we can’t work through.
But I’m afraid that my unstable mind will be that issue. That the tossing and turning brain waves of my neurological conditions will be the death of everything good to me. That somehow I will be the storm that sinks every boat. I often worry about everyone I’m around – how I’ll destroy them. How I’ll wreck them. How I’ll be the reason they’re lifeless on the shore. How my waves will swallow them up and they’ll be unable to escape.
I talk with people now and am afraid that they’ll see the real me. The broken, bruised, terrified, real me. The nightmare that I am. I’m afraid to be with people. I’m afraid my cover will fall down. Depressing, is it not? The once lively extrovert now crumbled in a corner, afraid to open her eyes.
If I open my eyes, Oswald is there. The fella who loiters in my living room, Oswald is a six-foot tall black figure with a body skinnier than my thigh. His has the skin complexion of a black rat snake. His fingers are the length of my hands and each finger is the shape of a hotdog weiner. His eyes are bulky. They stand beyond his face. They are traced by little red blood vessels, as if he had smoked blunts all night. From his mouth comes a high-pitched hissing noise. I’ve never seen inside of his mouth.
He scars me. The more I stare, the redder his eyes become. That is how he speaks to me. He wants to hurt G. He wants to hurt M. He wants to hurt Risa. He wants to hurt Radish. If I remain quiet and unlooking, I can save them from his terror. I’d rather die than ever have my little girl look into the eyes of this man. He is Satan in hallucination form. He is my living nightmare.
Oswald has visited me at work. I stared blankly at the keyboard in front of me, refusing eye contact with anyone around me. Is his goal to isolate me out of fear? Is everything a result of Oswald? Fuck Oswald. Fuck fuck FUCK Oswald.
I see him too often now. He’s always there. He’s always listening. He always knows. He wants me to be alone. He wants to devour me. He wants my soul. When he isn’t there or the emotions aren’t there, I’m there. I’m the catalyst in my own destruction. The only common denominator in every failed endeavor I’ve ever had, every tragedy I’ve ever faced, every emotion I’ve ever felt, every fight I’ve ever lost, every time that I’ve ever struggled, every tear I’ve ever shed, everything that’s ever happened to anyone I’ve ever known, is me. I’m the something bad in the night.