No Swimming Here
by enigmatic adolescents
I’m going to tell you a little story. Truth be told, I’m a pretty average person who has had a few bumps along the way, who hasn’t? I’m what people call an introvert. It’s not a bad thing. I’m the book nerd, the loner, and the lost cause. You probably like the same things as me; coffee, grilled cheese sandwiches, Sylvia Plath’s poems and being happy. I’m the kind of person who would, without a doubt, choose staying at home over anything else.
My favorite person to interact with is Aidan Foster. He is a tsunami but he’s also the soothing touch of cold water. He’s my only companion. He’s been in my life for over a year now. Aidan Foster is the only one that knows what my father did to me. He’s both the cloud that covers up my sun and the sun itself. The only reason I feel like I have control over my life is because he taught me how. I despise him when he acts out but he’s all I have.
He always makes me do things that I’m afraid of. Just yesterday he made me go to the coffee shop and get a job as a barista. It’s so hard being around people constantly but it’s just my second day today. An ex-classmate walks up to me, “Hey, long time. It’s so nice to see you up and about. Where were you all this while?” I let out a nervous chuckle and tell him I was working on a project. Who am I kidding? I was at a cuckoo farm.
Aidan stands right by me through the day but he never speaks to anyone. His sole motive is to support me. He sits quietly, watching on, making sure I don’t run away after an hour or two. Interacting with people is so grueling and I’m completely spent. I sigh, happy that the day went by without any drama.
We take the garden path to get home. Bright orange leaves and a cloudy amethyst sky surround us. As I introspected about the day, the soft lavender seemed to be in perfect harmony with my thoughts. “You did good today. I’m so proud.” Aidan says. My heart flutters. He never really compliments me.
As soon as we’re alone at home, he scowls at me, “Why did you ignore me all day?” I want to tell him that I was focusing on work but he starts again, “Every single time I try to help you, you go and betray me like this.” “What betrayal? What happened to you? I thought we were okay now.” I begin to cry. We’ve had the same conversation way too many times. He screams, “Just because we spent three months in an asylum together doesn’t mean we’re okay now.”
I can’t stop him from screaming. My heart pounds louder and louder. There’s a screeching pain in my head that steadily increases. My skull might tear open any second. Aidan doesn’t stop talking, he curses at me. My fingers entangle in my hair and I crawl to the floor and bang my head against the side of the table to stop the pain.
He pulls me up, suddenly calm again. “I’m so sorry,” he weeps, “I don’t know what got into me, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he chants. I murmur to myself, “He isn’t real, he isn’t real, don’t let him get to you, he isn’t real.” Aidan comes closer and whispers, “I’m real. As long as you’re real, I am too. Your hands are my hands, what you see is what I see; your life is my life. You are me and I am you.” I let his words sink in. He hisses at me, “You can’t get rid of me.”
We had learnt how to live together without making each other miserable. I can’t take it anymore, this is getting out of hand. “Aidan, you need to leave now. I’m sick of you.” He laughs, “And go where?” I quietly walk out of the house, he follows me, pestering, “Where? Tell me where?” I don’t say a word and keep walking towards the lake at the far end of town. The skies turn dark violet. It’s a good day to fix everything, at long last. As soon as I reach the red flag saying, “No Swimming Here,” I point downwards to the middle of the blue vacuum and say, “There.”
And I jump.