This story is about a man who relies upon an imaginary character to help him survive
I’ve known you all my life. I have to admit, you have changed as I’ve grown up. Maybe that’s because you grew up with me. You are, after all, my constant companion. Nevertheless, you have always held the same place in my heart. All my life, you have been my exemplar.
The nature of our relationship, I have much reflected upon. It cannot be unwholesome; you are the one keeping me alive.
To me, you are like an elder brother. You are all that I dream to be. You are all that I am not. You keep me alive.
All my life, you’ve given me the courage to move on. Whenever I lose, I draw solace from the fact that you win. You are my guardian. Yet, you have never asked me for anything in return.
I remember you in kindergarten. You’d always outwit your teachers with your supreme knowledge in every subject. You excelled in all forms of sports. You were even in the national football team. You were the youngest professional football player in world history. You would occasionally rescue your classmates from mass murderers and terrorists. I vividly remember you being honored for your bravery on several occasions. I have vague memories of you being able to fly but I don’t believe those are faithful recollections. It was a long time back and my recollections have probably become perverted.
You have, of course, changed as I grew up.
I remember you as a teenager. You were the most popular kid in school. You were the quintessential ‘Jack of all trades’. You were the lead guitarist in a rock band. In fact, you were considered one of the best guitarists in the country. You were an enthralling conversationalist and a breath taking orator.
You’d often hear people praising you in your absence. The logic behind you hearing praises in your name when you are physically absent from the spot never really appealed to me but then again, your very existence is not all that rational. However irrational you may be, you’re the one who keep me alive.
You breezed through college with utmost ease. I, however, dropped out of college and took up all sorts of jobs to keep myself alive. Even as I passed through such dire straits you did not forsake me. One day you’d be a bestselling author waiting tables to analyze human behavior. Another day you’d be a prominent politician delivering pizzas to see what he could do to ease the congested traffic. Another day you would be a rich businessman working as a plumber just for the heck of it!
So, my friend, all in all, you lead a perfect life.
Now, I look at my life. Homeless, jobless and without any substantial qualifications. Now, I break out of my bubble and look into the nature of our relationship. Now I realize you are not as holy as you have tricked me into believing. Come to think of it, you’ve deceived me all my life.
You are not my brother; I am your father. You have, however, never loved me like a son loves his father. You are more like a parasite feeding off the thoughts that perpetually torment my brain.
You are my creation. You were designed to shield me from the hard facts of life. You gave me hope; or so I thought. You have grown up to be far more than a mere shield. You have capitalized on my predicament for your personal gain. After all, when I lose, you win.
Every time I failed a test, you got an A and that comforted me. Whenever I couldn’t stand up for myself, you stood up for me and were always admired for your valor. Every time I lost a fight, you would defeat my adversary with utmost ease. Whenever I sat at a gathering too shy to speak up, you were busy laying out arguments in favor of banning greenhouse gases or whatever be the topic.
You would always adapt to suit my fancy. I thought you were protecting me but now I realize how you have been using me as a tool to become what you are today. That freak of a being so very prodigiously virtuous. You are nothing like me.
Now, you control my every move. It has come to the point where you force me to expose myself to situations where I am certain to be received with ridicule and mockery all so that you could feed off my emotions and grow off my imagination.
You know full well that I am defenseless against you. You know I am incapable of doing anything detrimental to your existence. There is no me without you. You whisper in my ear that I am superior to everyone else, which, paradoxical as it may sound, is the only way to live with the fact that I am inferior to the rest of the world. You’ve perpetually made me believe that I already am what I want to be and thus prevented me from endeavoring to be what I dream of being. All so that you could grow more impressive. You, sir, are the ultimate villain.
Enough of this madness! For once, just once in my life, I want to feel like a man. I may be weak; I may not be all that talented; but I am, by no bond, required to stroll along with the rest of you animals surviving off whatever trifle life tosses my way. Good bye my sweet compadre, it’s a shame that someone so fraught with virtues has to die and that too in this manner. I know how to end you. Just as there is no me without you, there is no you without I.
Let me show you what I really am made of, my imaginary friend. Against me, you are powerless. You should have stepped back when I had asked you to do so. I hope you ponder upon that on our sixty storey fall down to reality.
Now, I watch myself fall down the sixty storey building. I observe that both you and I are laughing hysterically. Why are you laughing? You are going to die. That’s it…I’ve hit the ground head first. I hear a thud. Now I see a pool of blood forming around me. I feel nothing! Now I see you smiling up at me through bloody lips. Now I know why you were laughing. There was no thud and there is no blood. Here I am on the sixtieth floor, with you crawling within me and gnawing at my brain.