A Loon

“I think I am crazy,” I said. “I am crazy.”

“You are not crazy,” Alexis said. “You would know it if you were.”

Sure, people who suffer from occasional disturbances fancy themselves to be crazy. Depressed people can be crazy. But what about the people who buy into their delusions hook, line, and sinker; the ones who believe everything they think to be true? This could be the most harmful kind of all.

“You are right, I am not crazy.”

That is exactly what I would want myself to think. That’s exactly what she would want me to think too. I am totally fucking crazy.  Shit.

I need to take an inventory of the situation. I am not psychotic and I do not have manic highs and lows, I think, but I never disagree with myself and I believe that people inherently distrust me or are out to get me. Everything I think cannot be right, but I believe it to be true anyway.

Maybe the problem is that everyone else can see right through the things I try to hide. Every time I pretend that I am listening to a boring person talk, every time I pretend to fully grasp a situation, and every time I am late to meet up with friends because I decided to take my time before leaving the house, it is all incredibly transparent.

When I leave a meeting, I am confident the conversation I had was productive and it never crosses my mind that the people are now talking behind me back.

“I cannot believe he thinks we are going to fall for that!” they might exclaim. “He is so full of shit.”

I never realized it before now. That is definitely what has been happening all along and I have blindly accepted all of it at face value. They politely smiled and I genuinely returned the cordiality. Through their grinning teeth, they whispered criticisms unheard by my ears.

“Moron.”

And what about Alexis, does she know too? Is she aware I’m not the sexual aficionado that I claim to be and that, after a few minutes, I begin wandering what the Yankees score is while she’s going down on me? At this very moment, she might be placating me just to throw me off track.

I got up and stormed off.

“Come back to bed,” she pleaded.

I do not understand her motivation but I am starting to get the feeling that I am the punch line of a joke that the rest of the world is in on.

“In a few minutes,” I said, as I lit up a cigarette out on the balcony.

She put on her robe and came out after me.

“Seriously, Michael, you have an existential crisis every time you see, hear, or read something that gives a unique perspective on reality or the existence of an alternate reality,” she said. “After one book, you worried that you might have dissociative identity disorder. After we watched a movie about discovering math in nature, you took an interest in number theory and began counting every step you took. I knew it was a bad idea to rent this movie tonight but this seems like a weird response to the film, even for you.”

In the years that we have been together, Alexis has gathered more than enough ammunition to use against me in this situation. She went on to claim that nothing was as bad as the time I began writing a collection of horribly offensive short stories about a gay life I hadn’t led after reading a Davis Sedaris book. I still believe that she is the reason “The Loins of My Fruit” and “The Old Man and the Semen” mysteriously disappeared from my hard drive.

“Come on now, you know that’s not true,” I responded. “Is this why you won’t let me watch psychological thrillers?”

She hastily returned to bed without answering. I took another drag of my smoke, put it out on the railing, and mindlessly flicked the butt into the street below. As I watched the last grey cloud of ash float off into the darkness, I decided she had to be conspiring against me too. She was in on it too. She was out to get me. I was sure of it.

“I am going to get out of here,” I said, grabbing my coat.

“Where could you possibly be going?”

I could not go stay with a friend or relative. I needed to be by myself and think this through. I could go to the park but it is late and too cold out for a walk. Wherever I went, I could not let her know.

“I am going to the bar,” I said.

That actually sounded like a good idea. I could use a drink and most other places in walking distance were closed by this time of night. Shit.

I walked into Liam’s Pub and the barkeep slid a tall whiskey and cola down the bar to the vacant stool before I could even sit down in it. It was my seat, where I sat until I could no longer stand. There were so many of nights. I nodded my head in appreciation. Then, I began guzzling drinks and thinking about my problem.

After a half-hour, Alexis walked into the bar and spotted me.

“Not again,” she said. “What the fuck are you doing?”

I was sure she meant that I was uncovering the truth about her and every other person who passed through my life. I was a figment of my own imagination in which I did not really exist. It was so fucking meta but it seemed more and more like a reality with each passing day.

“Do not spiral,” she demanded. “Do not do this again. I do not know how much more of it I can take.”

I assumed there was a no limit to what she could take as she was not real.

“A lot, I imagine.”

“Stop.”

“I simply cannot stop, not until I get to the bottom of this. I need to uncover the truth.”

“This is the truth. There is no secret or conspiracy or alternate reality.”

“That is what you would say if you were not real. Right?”

“Fucking shit,” she said, walking out the door.

She will be back because she is controlled by my imagination. I can make her come back. For now, though, I needed to drown in this bottle of whiskey. I can keep going until it will be the end of it.