Thursday, June 8, 2017

My Personal Prison, by Anna Johanes

HONORABLE MENTION



My Personal Prison
Taylor Riley is a 30 year old woman that suffers from a serious social phobia. She resolves to leave her appartment in Brno only in emergency and the only people she speaks to are the messengers.



            „No, mother. I really don't think that this time I'll get 'lucky' and do I have to mention the seven times before you tried to find me some guy online?“ seriously you can't imagine how much I love these conversations with my mum.
            „But Tay, you won't be thirty forever, the best guys are already taken and you're not exactly the perfect catch yourself“ ouch, charming as always, Clara.
            „Well thank you, but I am perfectly able to find a man IF and I repeat IF I wanted one, which I don't. Why are you so obsessed with me finding a guy anyway?“ okay now I'm starting losing it a bit. I have to hang up before she starts bubbling up about her dentist.
            „I just think that you'll be happy if someone took care of you, you know?“ dramatic pause, this'll be good „For real Taylor, don't you think that a grown up woman like you shouldn't be scared of going outside?“ right, the you-are-just-scared-and-not-ill-at-all thing again.
            „I'm hanging up mothe-“
            „No no NO, don't hang up baby, you know I just care about you“ ughm, mothers, am I right?
            „Plus I haven't told you the best part yet“ I'm not sure I like that flirty voice „Well I was talking about you with dr. Phelps back then and -“ goodbye, mother.
            I don't have time for this anyway, my project deadline is in two days and I am not even halfway there. I sit to my desk, kindly remove the Ceshire cat from my seat first, and open my laptop with Doctor Who sticker on it. My mother says I'm too old to be a fangirl, but I don't care. Fictional characters are my escape and my only friends. Well besides Alicia.
           
            Alicia Goldberg and I started online chatting about a year ago after the both of us argued with a bunch of douchebags who were making fun of people suffering with anxieties. Alicia herself has had some rough time during the puberty because of her social phobia and OCD, she even got expelled from highschool as a result of her numerous absences, would you believe it? People are stupid.
            Thinking of Alicia I proceed to check my emails hoping she's already read my lament about yesterday's  conversation with my new neighbour, which obviously didn't hear about the „crazy cat lady in the fourth floor“ yet.
            FROM : Alicia89@gmail.com
            TO : TayR@gmail.com
         DATE : February 4th  11:24am
            SUBJECT : Re: Neighbours suck
            Hey,
oh my, I totaly get your exasperation, but I wouldn't worry he'll be trying to get along again xD
I only wish I could be there with you and protect you. If, you know, you didn't live so damn far away in an enormously crowded city and didn't have a cat and I wouldn't be a freak that hates any kinds of contact, heh.
Anyway, how are you feeling today? How's the coding going?
                                                                                    Yours truly (from apart), Alicia

            I'm staring at her picture with that stupid smile I always make when thinking of her for a solid five minutes before I type the answer.
            FROM : TayR@gmail.com
            TO : Alicia89@gmail.com
            DATE : February 4th  1:10pm
            SUBJECT : Re: Re: Neighbours suck
            Dear and lovely Alicia,
you are a gift to this world, someone should finally write a poem about your greatness.
And I DO wish you were here, not just to protect me but also to be protected by me x)
We could make it work, actually. We might organize the flat the way you'd feel like and we'd shave Cheshire so you won't panick over the hair floating everywhere and we might get those vertical blinds to separate the room if either of us needs a safe space. And Brno might by really effing crowded but also provides the awesomeness called home delivery which allows you to not ever have to go outside your (you could say „our“ imagine that) flat. This keeps me from moving out of here. This and the pathological fear of speaking to people of course xD
And since you ask about the coding, I better get to it because since yesterday I haven't wrote a single character and what did I do, you're asking, that was more important than the job that allows me to live the life I do? Binge watched the entire serie of Glee. Again. Shocking, I know xD
Yours forever, Taylor

            After fifty minutes of unsuccessful effort to work I give up (I accidentally slipped in the dreaming of a perfect life in Brno with Alicia in which we'd help eachother push our limits to the point where we'd be able to leave the house and go to the ┼ápilberk castle or to take a picture by the Phallic clock in the centre, which is suppose to symbolize a bullet, but everybody know it's just a huge black D)
            The minute I sit on the couch to watch another serie of Glee (yes, I know, I'm a trash) the bell rings three times. I love David, he is the only one so far who not only agreed to leave the purchase on the rug by the door but also suggested the signal of three rings for me to be sure it's safe to open the door. He even leaves notes on the bag sometimes to cheer me up. This time it says „Look up“ which confuses me at first but then I look on the sky and almost melt under the sight of milions of stars and the moon in the size of small building. Okay David, you got me there.
            That night I sleep like a baby in my Stitch pyjamas and with a picture of me and Alicia on the top of the Old Town hall in mind.

            FROM : Alicia89@gmail.com
            TO : TayR@gmail.com
            DATE : May 15th 6:48pm
            SUBJECT : Surprise!!!
            My dearest, beloved Taylor,
you better sit down, if you haven't already, because what I'm going to tell you is the biggest thing you'll ever hear!
Okay, ready?
I
AM
GOING
TO
VISIT
YOU
THIS
FRIDAY!
I'll let you absorb it
            Alicia
            I´m absorbing. I AM absorbing... I AM DYING! It can't be possible, I mean HOW can this be true? Head full of questions and hands shaking I somehow manage to type the answer.
            FROM : TayR@gmail.com
            TO : Alicia89@gmail.com
            DATE : May 15th 7:01pm
            SUBJECT : Re: Surprise!!!
You need to explain this to me, because I don't get it.
Taylor
I press the send button and I wait and I refresh the email box for so long that my eyes hurt but the response never comes.
            It's wednesday, two days from the last email from Alicia. I've sent her twelve emails since then, all desperate and begging like myself, but no answer.
            I'm not gonna lie, I cried over that for many reasons including „what the heck“ and „why the heck“ but mainly I was worried about her silence. She never let me wait for the answer for more than few hours, even in emergencies so what's happening now? Of course she didn't mean it when she wrote she'll come to visit me. She can't come to Brno for obvious reasons so why did she write this? Is it some kind of joke? But if it is, why isn't she answering?
            Eventually I've concluded that Alicia was just over me and didn't wanna hurt me so she ended it the only way she knew I'll buy which made me cry even more. Even watching the whole Hunger games trilogy didn't help so I've decided the best thing to do will be burrying myself in the sheets and sleep.
            But I couldn't, could I? No, that wouldn't be me if I didn't stare on the crack on my ceiling for hours overthinking every single word I wrote to Alicia trying to figure out what in earth did I do wrong. When my alarmclock shows 3:57am I give up and sit to my computer, I'm late with my project anyway.
            On friday morning I'm feeling like my heart's gonna explode. Of course I don't believe that visit lie Alicia tried to feed me with, I don't expect her to show up at my door with baloons and chocolate but still. The whole day I spend trying to keep myself busy with working, drawing I even call my mother who's openly shocked when I ask her about her day but I can only keep her talking for about five minutes before she starts giving me questions and I have to hang up. I'm about to break down.
            The next day I'm looking like a sad messy clown with racoon-ish eyes and red nose and not feeling any better than that. But at the same time I feel relieved, what was I worrying about? I laugh at my own patheticity and decide to treat myself with a bowl of cerial and chocolate and ice cream. As if I'm not weird enough I might as well be fat. Who cares?
            On sunday morning I wake up to the noise of my ring bell. Three rings to be exact. I wait for a minute or two before I open the door and freeze. Oh no this isn't happening, God tell me this isn't happening, I have to find the way out of this immediately! My head spins as I look on the elegant figure standing in front of me.
            „Hello“ the pink lips smile as they speak and I'm considering smashing the door as fast as possible but my body doesn't seem to cooperate. Everything's blurry and my knees turned into christmas jelly. The only thing I'm capable of is grabbing the door frame before my forehead finds it first.
            „I'm sorry I jumped at you like this, I didn't wanna upset you“ that fool must be CRAZY or totally unaware of the things I can do when I'm frightened like this.
            „WHAT the HELL are you DOING?“ I'm almost positive that I'm yelling but I can't tell for sure because of the hedache that's coming.
            The brown eyes sadden noticeably as the man on my doormat crooks.
            „I...I am really...sorry Taylor...I mean miss...I mean...“ the boy seems lost in words and I feel sorry for him but also angry.
            „David's sick so the agency's sent me“ he starts mummling and my pity for him is gone as I start to realize where this is going.
            „He told me about you and I thought...“ the rest of the sentence is so quiet that I can't hear him with my world spinning like that.
            „It's okay just...bye“ I slam the door before the poor thing collect himself, curl up on the floor and start to sob uncontrollably.
           
            Later that night I find myself somewhere between the urge to hang myself on the death star chandelier my mum gave my on my last birthday and buying the gun to avenge mistr great Lennon but my master plans are flashed by the Ceshire cat who starts to cry over his empty bowl.
            „Taylor Destiny Riley“ I hear my inner voice.
            „You are a mess no doubt that“ now I am speaking out loud.
            „But every single one of your heroes started on the same bottom you are now and did they give up?“ I stand up from the ground to the superhero pose, just imagine me with a red cape.
            As I march the room back and forth my determination grows. I don't wanna be like this my whole life. Something must change. This last days has been a hell for me. The loss of Alicia broke my heart and the not knowing of what really happened with her is driving my crazy but one thing this whole situation helped me realize. I can't be dependent on one person I've never even met. I might have a mental condition but I also have many things to live for. I'm not alone. And I know what to do to make it right. I grab my phone and dial the number.
            „Hello?“
            „Mum...“ my voice breaks and I start to cry but it's cleansing cry. I feel nervous but also relieved. My whole life I've been putting myself a label of a sick person and I acquiesced it. But not anymore. Now I'm ready to fight.
            „I'm ready mum“ I laugh when I hear my mother's gasp „Will you help me?“ I smile through the tears and for once in my life I feel like something really CAN change. It's gonna be a rough path, but I have the whole life to try and to fall and get back on my feet. I'll do it. Baby steps.

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