It all started back in high school. I was a timid, scared kid…skinny one. The one who is always paranoid of everything and everyone around. The thing that I scared the most was that the teacher might look into my eyes and make me speak…make me speak in front of all of them. Them…who judged me and stared at me…even when I turned. I know they did.
I just hated the stage. The open air would suffocate me. And you know Jane, it got worse when I joined the college. Because here they have presentations. It is a compulsion then for one to go up there in front of everyone and talk. I haven’t been attending lectures so that I won’t have to do it. I’m already falling short of two subjects to clear my degree exam. You know that right? I told you how horrifying it had been when I stoop up there…shaking and trembling…words mumbled out and hardly made any sense. It’s not that I cared about that. I just wanted to run…run so far from them. I could feel them talking about me, their strange eyes fixing on me.
You know, even when I go to the market; I think everyone is looking at me. They are turning back again and again to point fingers at me. I don’t look into their eyes. I can’t. I’m terrified that they’ll think I’m not like them. I’m not normal. I can’t be like them. I do not know what to say and how to behave out in public maybe. I feel nervous and awkward all the time. What is appropriate and what is not, how do they know it? I don’t laugh out loud for it may only be funny to me. I am so ridiculous at meeting new people. I have a hard time finding the right ways to do it.
Jane, I often feel this whole world is a big setup; it is some kind of ridiculous prank being played out by people around on me. I’m just desperately waiting for it to end, to wake up from this lucid horrible dream. It’s like I’m conscious all the time. It’s like I have eyes on the back of my head. It’s like someone’s telling me what not to do, whispering gingerly inside my ears. I know it’s you.
I can never forget the day I saw you for the first time. Just like every time, I was hiding away from the Professor’s eyes when I heard someone answering out loud. I looked behind to spot you…sitting just a row behind me. You then offered me a compassionate smile. It made me feel so good you know…First time I felt at peace. I know it was you who answered, I heard you out so loud. You were there again in the same row, in every single lecture I did after that day. Why would they keep telling me that there was no one? I distinctly remember how you look…straight out of that favorite novel of mine.
I don’t like it when they say you were never there. I don’t like them and their forced, fake conversations. I can never connect with them. With you, I feel so comfortable. So much cooler I am when you are around, just like people are when they are drunk. It has been a long time that I felt so normal.
Dear Jane, this is my 8th letter to you. Please reply back. I know you are there. And I need you. I don’t need these medicines when I’m with you. I told them you’ll come and see me at the hospital. And they have promised to release me once they see you too. Please do.