The address on the slip of paper was confusing, so I went around asking people about the place but they looked at me as if I were an idiot. I did get there eventually and liked it, I just hoped that the room-mate would be nice.
When I rang the bell, the door opened and a tall girl in her late-twenties ushered me in with a smile. She asked my name and for my share of the rent so I handed her the cash. She was smart, very smart.
I soon found out her fixed routine and could always tell the exact time she woke up, had her all-organic breakfast, exercised, left for work, got home, watched T.V., had dinner and went to sleep. However, we hardly had a conversation of more than fifty words in two weeks. She talked to other people in our building, had lengthy conversations on the phone, Facebooked for hours, but never interacted with me. It was fine with me because that meant she did not interfere with my business so I stayed out of her way.
However, I found her acting strangely after some time: she tried catching me unaware and every time I turned to look at her, she would walk away in another direction. She started talking to me too much and stared at me continuously, sometimes breaking off conversations without any explanation. Her activities gradually became more suspicious and one day I caught her scribbling in a small black diary, which she immediately thrust into her pocket when she saw me. I started wondering if her job as a psychiatrist was getting too much for her, but soon I realised that she was keeping a secret from me and I decided to uncover it.
I found my chance when I saw her diary stuffed in her coat, lying unattended on the sofa as she came in from work and went for a shower. What I saw in it caught my breath:
‘Talking/arguing to self’
‘Constantly looking at the ceiling with a blank expression’
‘Suicidal notes hidden in places’
This is not good…
‘Cutting arms with razors and mumbling incomprehensibly’
…not good at all…
‘Inference: subject suffering from schizophrenia’
No one had ever been able to catch me; I was smart, very smart. Previous room-mates never had any inkling of what I was, but I needed a challenge. This one, being a psychiatrist, gave me that challenge. I did have to spend a week in an institution but Jackie, my old friend, helped me get out of there.
My love for writing freed me because the people at the institution had to take me out of my cell to clean the walls, which sadly were my manuscript for my book, but Jackie says ink is better than blood; I have already become anaemic from writing so much.
My new room-mate is nice because she lets me use her old typewriter; I intend to publish a book on my adventures. The old room-mate would definitely be a part of it because we caught each other. It is funny how things go in a circle; I knew she had a secret but her secret was that she knew my secret: I am schizophrenic.
When I’m done writing, I will have to sew back Jackie’s button eye which came off when I ran. I even have to fix the stuffing that is coming out of him, poor thing. But he won’t complain; he’s smart, very smart.
[Note: This short story was written as part of an English Composition course during my 4-year degree program.]