“Vick! Vicky, I need you!” I had a plan to see more of Ryan. I knew how I was going to do it, I just knew that it would work.
“Vicky!” I race through the office, paperwork spilling from my arms and people jumping out of my way. I pause, looking at the paper I dropped on the ground by my feet before bending down and picking it up. Ordering the sheets, I line up the top left hand corners and straighten the sheets. I take off running again, as soon as I knew the pieces of paper were in perfect order. “Vick! Vicky, I need you!” I had a plan to see more of Ryan. I knew how I was going to do it, I just knew that it would work.
I was always good at plans; it let my imagination roam free instead of being stuck in the constant rut that it’s always been in. I have an addictive- no, obsessive personality. I don’t just mean always buying the same flavour of gum or having a lucky pair of underpants; I’m talking complete obsession. Routine. Everything falls under a routine, tradition, habit. 6.50: alarm. 7.00: get out of bed. 7.03: pour coffee. 7.15: get in shower. 7.25: get out of shower. 7.30: get dressed and so on. If something is out of time, out of place, out of sync… I panic. My breath shortens, my head spins. My chest hits the ground before I have chance to move my arms and stop myself. The world stops moving for that small moment of pure fear.
I can’t explain that fear, I don’t know where the feeling stems from. It just clouds my brain and makes my body feel like lead.
Planning stops that. When I plan, I know what’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen. I don’t plan for anything that I can’t be certain about. Once I do start to plan though, whole scenarios are acted out in my head and I can daydream about what might happen, what I might create and I feel like I’m being taken to a new place. Every image in my mind is so vivid and so real that I feel safe in my own body.
I need that safety right now. My plan could destroy everything I want, it could rip apart my life and take away everything that I’ve worked so hard for. If I could just show Vicky what I am, let her know what I can do; then maybe I stand a chance of working out a way of keeping Ryan. She could help me.
I turn to Vicky’s office, running straight into the wooden frame around the glass door and rebounding back to the floor. “The fuck?! Vick!” She’s sat at her desk on the other side, laughing at me with her hand pressed tightly over her mouth in an attempt to muffle her giggles. I can’t help it, the laughter tumbles out of my own mouth at the hilarity of the situation and I pull myself to my feet, re-ordering the paperwork in my hands.
This time, I open the door before trying to enter the room.
“I need your help Vicky, I really need your help. It’s important.” She still has a slight smile on her face as she cocks her head in curiosity. “I need you to come back to mine tonight, we need to talk.”
“Sure, what about?”
The rest of the day passes by in a blur of broken computers and endless word documents, my fingers twitching and fidgeting as I wait for the day to draw to a close. That’s another thing that I hate. Waiting. If you’re waiting for something, then that means that nothing is planned for those long and tedious moments. 30 minutes until my day ends. Anything can happen in the next half hour. Anything at all. I have no control over what could occur. If something goes wrong, then I have no power over any situations and that thought scares me.
My fingers flex and twitch over the computer keys as I turn my mind to concentrate on the article in front of me. Distraction. Have you ever noticed that the letters A and Z are the furthest away in the alphabet, but next to each other on the keypad? Like the circle of life, the beginning meets the end, ready to start all over again. But the rest of the keys, they’re all jumbled. I know the alphabet ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ, but what the fuck is QWERTYUIOPASDFGHJKLZXCVBNM? It’s a mess! I know that someone once told me it was so the most used letters were written using the left hand, but why should that matter? Why aren’t they spaced so that it’s equal? They should be-
“Sorry, William, you okay? I figured I’d give you a lift and we can chat about this important thing that you so desperately need to tell me about.” Vicky stands over me with a small smile on her face, holding a steaming flask and trying to balance a ridiculous looking hat on her head. I just raise an eyebrow at her before she sighs, dropping the purple material to the desk. “I know, it’s a present. Awful, right?”
Without speaking, I pick the hideous object from my desk and drop it in my bin, flashing my mega-watt smile at Vicky. She just rolls her eyes and pulls me from my seat forcing me to her car and then to my place. The whole journey is tense as she realises that this “talk” is serious, and I have no idea how to start it. I think that maybe it would be good to start talking in the car; get most of it out of the way before she has the opportunity to run from me – but then what if she freaks and runs us both into a street light or a shop window? Every now and then I open my mouth to speak, but the words never escape and I snap my mouth shut, huffing and facing out of the window. The streets slowly turn from a desolate grey to the vibrant shimmering city created by lights twinkling all around, the light dissipates rapidly and night prowlers begin to appear.
The journey isn’t long, but the sky is almost black as she parks in the designated car park for my building and we step out simultaneously. This is it, I’m about to tell her. It’s suddenly so much more real. I never realised the severity of the situation, this isn’t normal, to be able to morph and create whole new people – it’s not natural. Up until now, only I knew and it became the norm for me. She’s going to freak. She’s going to run.
Each step on the staircase brought a new negative thought to my mind, clouding my senses and pushing any optimism to the back of my head. My head spins and my stomach churns and I feel the bitter taste of bile rising to the back of my throat. I can’t tell her. I clamp a hand over my mouth, racing up the last few stairs and slamming the key into my door, barely reaching my bathroom before I’m retching, my stomach expelling itself in pure fear and the anxiety grips tight at my muscles. I’m shrinking into myself again, limbs curling inwards and I’m panicking. The walls feel like they’re closing in and yet the door is so far away. I can hear her in the next room, asking what’s wrong? Am I okay? Of course I’m not okay, I want to scream, to yell until the tiles crumble and crash around me from the sheer force of my voice. I can’t. Not now. My breathing shortens, my chest tightening. Tears slip down my face as I let the panic attack take control of my senses.
My skin crawls and shifts beneath my ragged nails as I claw at the skin, my body shaking and it’s happening. My fingers shorten, thinning out ever so slightly, the nails becoming cleaner, neater and softer. My hands begin to disappear beneath my sleeves and my hair lifts off my face. Footsteps at the door an I manage to shout “don’t come in!” before I get a hold of myself, halting the transformation. It has been so long since I’ve lost control of it like that. The panic of telling someone else what I can do has frightened me enough to destroy every sense of control I ever had. Within a few moments I regulate my breath and manage to pull myself up to the mirror.
Staring at the child-like image of me, I will myself to return to the way I’m supposed to look. Vicky can’t see me like this, not yet. Not yet…
“Bill, I don’t know what the fuck’s going on but I’ve told Dianne that we’re working form home tomorrow. You’re going to bed and sleeping right now, and tomorrow you’re going to tell me what’s up.” She pushes open the door, a concerned frown stretched across her features and I can’t help but notice how her hair is the same colour as Ryan’s. And hey, I bet Ryan would like that scarf she’s wearing. He’s taken a liking to scarves recently, just little ones. Images of Ryan flood my head and my body relaxes, smiling at the thought of him. He’s so young, so innocent; what I would give to be like him.
“Thanks Vick, I need sleep I think.” My voice is hoarse and my throat feels dry, pinpricks dotting my eyes from crying. She just smiles and pulls me to my room. I don’t know what to think when she starts pulling my shirt form my shoulders, but sometimes it’s just nice to have someone care and I don’t have the energy to do anything myself, so I sink into her touch and let her lead me to my bed in my boxers, tucking me in like a mother would a child. She presses a chaste kiss to my forehead, whispering goodnight and leaving the room as I slip into dreams filled with the face of a child with brown hair, brown eyes and a love of scarves and Barbie dolls.
I don’t want to open my eyes, if I open my eyes then my day starts and I have to talk to Vicky. The rhythmic beeping of my alarm clock filters through my mind, triggering alarm sensors in my head and warning me that I’m breaking routine. I can feel my muscles tense and the need to move overcomes me as I throw off my covers and sit up. I’m a couple of minutes late. I should be sat with my coffee right now, reading the newspaper at the kitchen table. This isn’t good, how could I let myself fail my routine? Especially after last night. A break in routine is the worst thing I could use right now.
What does it matter though, because as soon as I lift myself up, Vicky is bustling around me, pushing me back down and handing me a hot coffee. I let myself sink into the pillows, fingers twitching and curling at my sides before I take a sip. It has two spoonfuls of coffee and no sugar, but I say nothing. It will do.
She perches on the edge of my bed, pinning the blanket around my legs, before looking at me, “Spill it.” Her eyes search my own, gauging my reaction.
She lets out a humourless laugh and raises an eyebrow. “I have had no sleep; because you told me you had something important to tell me, then barely spoke to me before having some sort of fit in your bathroom. You’re going to tell me what’s going on, Bill, you’re going to tell me right now.”
“William.” I growl, eye’s narrowing and sending a glare her way.
“I don’t fucking care.” The alarm clock beeps again and she slams her hand down on it, sending a momentary tremble of fear racing through my body. She pauses, breathes and then lowers her fierce gaze to her knee, where her nimble fingers are picking at a loose thread. “I do care, I just…I need to know. Last night scared me, I didn’t know what the hell was happening to you. Then when you made me wait outside the door, you didn’t want my help even though I could tell you were struggling.”
“You’ll understand why I’m struggling when I tell you, but I need to work through how to tell you.”
“Just say it.” I hesitate. “William.” I can’t speak. “The more you think the less likely you’ll be able to say it.” I open my mouth. “William, just fucki-“
So I finally got it up! It's a bit short, but...yeah.