I open my eyes and there he is again. He is looking at me defiantly. I seem to remember the last time we met I told him I wanted nothing to do with him. The last time, by the way, was last night before I went to bed and tried to get some sleep, something I’m finding increasingly difficult. Whatever. He turns a deaf ear and shows up even if I don’t invite him. He’s in charge, or so he thinks. I’m too tired to argue, so I just let him follow me around until one of us decides to talk. This time I’m not going to be the one to make the first move.
This is exhausting. I mean this impasse where the silence is almost as cruel as the conversations we have. The truth is that I don’t know if they can be called conversations, because we always end up shouting. To be honest, I’m the one who ends up shouting, because he manages to maintain a calm that seems superhuman. He drives me out of my mind and I don’t know how he can have so much power over me. Maybe it’s the way he tells me things. That tone of voice, that penetrating look, that overwhelming self-assurance, that self-confidence, which is exactly what I lack. I notice how rage begins to take hold of me. My heartbeat quickens. I clench my fists and dig my nails into my palms so that the pain distracts me from its presence.
I make myself breakfast. No one else is home, so I have to concentrate on what I’m doing to distract myself from his presence. It seems like a contradiction to have to concentrate to distract yourself, doesn’t it? I suppose it is. But sometimes it has worked for me and I can’t think of anything better at the moment. I focus my attention on getting the milk from the fridge, pouring it carefully into the bowl, pouring the cereal so slowly that I can almost count it as it falls and splashes lightly on the counter in contact with the milk. My efforts seem futile. I feel my strength failing me again and I feel like I’m going to give in because I can’t stand her gaze fixed on me, waiting for my reaction. But no, I have to hold on, I can’t give in to his desires.
He’s still there. Unperturbed. God! How does he do it? It seems that nothing fazes him. Sometimes I think he’s capable of waiting forever if he puts his mind to it. However, something has changed lately, because I know him well. Even if he doesn’t express them out loud now, I can guess what he’s thinking. Always asking me for things I don’t want to do. Because silence anticipates something terrible. It’s like a cold war. And I know I shouldn’t listen to him because, every time I do, I get into trouble and my parents have given me an ultimatum. They say they’re not going to help me again, they’ve made that clear. Not until I take the medication the psychiatrist recommended. They don’t understand that he is not really a doctor, but one of his lackeys and that the medication is a poison he has sent them so that I will succumb to his wishes. They don’t understand what is going on here and I am desperate. No one believes me. He has this power of persuasion. He is so convincing that even they claim they have never seen him, let alone talked to him, even though the last time we were discussing this topic in the living room I saw him reflected in a crystal. They are all trying to deceive and manipulate me. So, I’m on my own and I have to come to terms with it.
I go outside and he follows me. I have to go to the supermarket. My mother has left me a list of things I have to buy. She says if I don’t study, at least I have to help at home. But it’s not that I don’t want to study. I got expelled from high school because of him, as usual. He follows me to class and doesn’t let me concentrate because he won’t stop talking to me. The last time before I was expelled he told me that I should beat Luis up because he was talking about me behind my back and had turned the whole class against me. He told me that I had to assert myself and show him who was in charge. He told me that if I didn’t, I was a pussy who didn’t deserve to live. He got me to explode and when I saw Luis in the courtyard I pounced on him without a word. I prefer not to remember what happened next because it is not pleasant and, moreover, it embarrasses me. As a consequence, I was expelled for a week.
Things are bad. No, not bad enough, that’s an understatement. My parents are conspiring against me with the damn psychiatrist. He told me the other day, though maybe I shouldn’t listen to him. But I think he’s right about that because my relationship with them has been dire lately. I see the way they look at me. I can read their contempt. I can see that they have given up on me. I am now 18 years old and I realize that they want to kick me to the curb, or maybe worse. And now he’s the one who’s whispering it in my ear. He says they are going to put me in a hospital. I tell him to shut up, but he continues with his whispers. He says I have to do something about it.
I turn around and tell him to leave me alone, I don’t want to put on a show in the store like we did last time. Besides, every time he shows up, I get in trouble. Okay, I think I’ve raised my voice too much. I’ve lost control and I promised myself it wouldn’t happen today. People turn to look at me, their eyes locked on me with dread. Someone has picked up the cell phone, a lady, and I think she’s going to call the police. I put on my hood and continue on my way so they can’t see my face. Hopefully, with the hood up, I won’t see him either.
He keeps telling me that I have to go get the old woman on the phone because the police will come looking for me. He says I have to do something. He says I’m a coward, that I always hide. He says and says and says and says and says and keeps telling me a lot of things I don’t want to hear. And then I scream for him to leave me alone, to go away, to forget me once and for all. And he starts again with the endless string of things. He says the system is against me. He says I’m being watched. He says I won’t be able to escape if I don’t take charge and act. It says I’m being spied on through my cell phone. He says to grab the garbage can next to him and throw it on the floor because there are listening devices inside and I must destroy them. And finally I listen to him, throw it down and kick it with all my rage. And then there are sirens in the background and everything goes dark once again.
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