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There's No One There
Moving can really hinder your perfectionist personality. Everything is shoved in boxes, no order to it since Mom says to hurry up, and then you can’t find your favorite Sci-fi comic because Dad forgot one of your boxes. Then there are the endless hotels since you’re traveling two days straight to get to Willows, Wyoming. Life seems to suck at this point and all you want to do is get out.
Like life wasn’t hard enough; now you have to quit school in the middle of the semester and drive endlessly to some boring place like Wyoming.
Then you make it. The house is pleasant but at three in the morning you can’t really enjoy the brown shutters and “charming” ceiling fan that’s just a little too grand like the people who built it had to rub in their wealth just a little bit more. No, you crash into your hurriedly assembled bed and fall asleep almost instantly.
You wake up at six and feel like a walking zombie. After unpacking a few boxes, you eat your “healthy” but disgusting Oaties and dress in that obnoxious school uniform because your parents just had to splurge on the “better” school.
But then, on your way to the large, almost castle-like institution, it happens. She appears, seemingly out of thin air, and starts trailing you. You think nothing of it at first, but have to admit that her blue Greek-stye dress and wreath of matching flowers unnerves you.
She continues to follow until you're forced to pivot on your heels, attempting to turn and tell her off. But then you trip over your shoelaces and slide against the pavement. It’s painful, but you manage to look cool as you stand to yell at her or just give her a blank no-I-did-not-just-fall look. But she’s gone. All through school you look for her, but she doesn’t show. Maybe she’s one of those “weird” homeschoolers that get to end early.
You do well enough amongst your fellow snobs and soon you’ve got a butt load of friends at your beck and call just becasue you're built like a Jock and look hotter than heck.
You’ve already conquered the school, and soon you forget about her.
But on your way back you see her again. It’s like she floats in front of you, casting creepy looks behind her shoulder to stare.
And then you say, “What do you want, weirdo?” When she finally stops and just stares.
She continues to watch you twisting her skirt around her. It looks like chiffon and the way it flows is hypnotic. Suddenly she curtsies and you get the feeling that she may be crazy.
“Okay…” You mutter, edging around her and continuing on home.
You forget her again as you continue the route home. You feel good. Accomplished. Maybe Wyoming will be better than you thought.
You make it home and Mom shoves a plate of some sort of mush in your hands. She’s a health guru, and it’s up to you, her only child, to be her taste tester.
“Eat up!” She trills and you give it a go.
It’s disgusting. As expected. But you paste a smile on and pretend it’s delicious.
“Goody!” She plants a sloppy kiss on your face and you hurriedly shove her away and run upstairs.
The next morning you repeat everything, except the part where you see her. She’s not anywhere and you feel much lighter. Life in Wyoming would be a lot harder if you had a freak obsessed with you. But then, while you’re cleaning the gunk off your bike tire, you see her standing at the end of your driveway. Staring. Her usual.
“Dad!” you hiss, acting as though you didn’t notice.
Your father turns from inspecting the car’s engine, “Yeah?”
You point at her subtly, thinking your father will deal with the problem, “She’s been watching me yesterday and today! Can you maybe, I don’t know, get rid of her?”
Your father seems confused, “Who do you mean, Freddie?”
“I mean her!” You point more forcefully. She hasn’t moved. She continues to stare.
Then, your father says something that sends your whole world crashing into oblivion; “There’s no one there.”
Morris Plains, New Jersey
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