As every great sci-fi movie has told us “time is not linear”. Rather ongoing, parallel diverging lines. In reality, it’s more like layers of tracing paper added on top of each other. While you cannot see the previous pages, they’re still there, existing in their own sense of time and space. Now, what if one could slip through these pages, even if only briefly? We would say they had lost touch with reality. Seeing things that aren’t there, even talking to these ‘ghosts’ of both the future and past.
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder that affects how a person behaves, thinks and sees the world. People with schizophrenia often lose touch with reality and can’t distinguish what is real. They often have hallucinations because of their disorder. They misdiagnosed me with it because I found out I wasn’t hallucinating... I fell through the pages of reality and time itself.
Every morning I had woken up, taken my medication, gone to school, come home and then drifted to sleep. I knew I couldn’t be normal. So I pushed out the real world and built my own. That in itself had its own problems but as I got older it seemed to hurt to be alone. It became a feeling of hollow nonchalant-ness. In a state of melancholy, I had given up and became forgetful with my medication. It turned into an on-again-off-again relationship with it. (Because I couldn’t care about anything in a world as bleak as mine.) My routine was to come home to my cave and watch anime like the hermit I was. Until one day, I had run out of medication while my parents were away. I sat and gazed while all the characters lived the façade that was my entertainment.But that very next day, I would go on to meet her.
I had decided to go to the school library to escape the chaos of the outside world. I found her; she would go on to become my tranquility. She was a chimera of beauty. She sat reading a Japanese light novel, without a care of judgement. She was the kind of person I had always wished to be. In that moment, time froze as I contemplated for hours with myself on whether I should go and talk to her. Something in me said go and talk to her. I don’t know if it was me or the schizophrenia talking but I didn’t regret it.
“Hi...is that the first light novel in the new series written by Honoka Yuki?” I asked her sheepishly.
She replied quickly. Either to push me away or she was truly engulfed in the book I remained optimistic and hoped for the latter.
“I have been dying to read it, where did you find it?” I asked.
She read on as if my words had fallen on deaf ears. In that moment, I felt a paroxysm of affliction. My head sunk into a cesspool of agony. It felt as if seconds had become an eternity. I drifted but my legs couldn’t carry the weight of my torment. In that moment, I had become a contemporary Atlas. I wandered out the library. Was the outside world meant to be my sanctuary?
I threw myself on a nearby bench to dwell in my sorrows. As I gazed upon the incandescent heavens, through the branches above, the leaks of light danced across me creating a mood of romantic proportions. I sat bewildered for what felt like an eternity. Contemplating her image and felt the question gain weight, “What did she look like?” because such a thing of beauty couldn’t even be the work of John Keats. That was the only thought that came to mind. A complexion incomparable to anything a word could describe yet for the life of me I couldn’t recall it. I had lost the idea of her image, even the simplest details escaped me, even the basics of her visual aspect such as hair colour. But then again I was so nervous I stopped breathing. How could I have taken in her beauty? Was the only reason I spoke to her because of her Honoka Yuki book? No. There was a glow about her that attracted me. I wouldn't dictate emotions based on reading preferences or beauty… then again, puberty. Maybe love wasn’t in the air t’was pheromones.
As I breathed in the sweet,clean air, the breeze wafted love about. But in retrospect, I had no idea what love was at the time. I had never felt love besides that of my fiction. But being the pessimist I was, I ‘knew’ love was a chimera that seemed to devour reality only to become it….
The strangest part yet is that I have never thought about another human being. To think I had fallen for a girl I knew nothing about. I had become the kind of cliché I hated, I felt like I belonged in some shoujo manga rather than reality. Why? Why was she any different? Before I could continue on my train of thought, the bell rang sending me back to my prison of boredom and solitude. At precisely 14:30 the bell of my salvation rang. I wandered to my locker. At least in my cave, I could sleep so I don’t have to feel this hollowness. I could finally feel a sense of peace after the roller coaster had stopped. When I had come to accept my fate. My arm felt a gentle poke. When I turned around, I saw her, radiant as ever drawing me in with the gravity of a neutron star...but what was it…
Her smile, it was her smile. It glistened as if it was lit by a thousand stars. In that moment if she were the stars, I wanted to be the moon more than anything. Never before had I felt anything like this…
“Hi…” she said looking down as if she had lost all credence in her grin.
“Hi…” I mumbled.
“Sorry about earlier, someone such as yourself should know how gripping the work of Honoka Yuki is. I only wish I hadn’t been so mean to you.” she said with a smile.
“No, it’s fine. I thought that was the case. Luckily, I was right.” I replied frantically.
“If anything I am just shy, don’t worry.” she said.
In that moment I wished to scream that maybe there was a God. Although, in the back of my mind, I could feel the chimera devouring reality. But a part of me also questioned the idea of the chimera’s existence. (And dear reader I know what you’re thinking. “He’s falling so hard so fast…” but remember I had never had a girl look at me let alone, smile at me. Life lowers its standards a lot when you’re alone.)
Then I realised. While I stood there processing all this, I was standing there smiling like an idiot. While she she awkwardly stood there and probably contemplated walking away. Luckily the chasms of my thoughts were easily escapable.
“Sorry I spaced out. I tend to do that”, this was probably the worst part of the day. I was pretty sure she had lost interest by now. I had practically called her boring.
“She giggled and replied, “Don’t worry, I do that all the time too, so forgive me if I do that next time.”
“Next time?” I said with a smirk.
“Yes, next time. Implying we will be speaking more.” As she casually looked at her watch, she gazed in bewilderment of the time. “Oh no...sorry I need to go. Bye.”
As she hurried away I shouted across the busy hallway, “Could you at least tell me your name?”
“Alaska. Alaska May.”
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