The door closes behind me, and I look around. I'm home. It's 6:32 PM. I blink. Wasn't I sitting in my therapist's office just a second ago? Why am I suddenly here, so much later? It doesn't add up. How did I get home? Instinct? I don't remember any bus ride back.
There are three roses in a glass of water in our shared subsidized housing unit. Odd. I haven't seen them before. I take one out, hold it so as to avoid the thorns, and sniff.
I smell nothing.
Did my brother buy these? Did someone send us these?
There's a receipt on the counter. For four fake roses, courtesy of the dollar store. Well, where's the fourth? Wait - is that my name on the receipt? Was someone else using my debit card?
I open my purse, and dig out my wallet. I open it, to check for my debit card. However, another receipt falls out and onto the table. It's from the post office.
I've never had trust issues with my brother before.
Who could have done this?
No, wait - the postal receipt is time-stamped for twenty minutes ago. And the roses, thirty six minutes ago.
I can smell the Kraft dinner in the microwave.
The laptop, on the desk, is still on. So is the old bubble-jet printer beside it, which oddly enough has been left on. A document is open.
I love thee like a summer rose. But to express it, I see but a likeness untrue to what I feel. I see something superficial. Something fake. A flower without pollen. A rose without fragrance. Such is not as true as my love for you.
Your Secret Admirer,
Well, now I'm confused. Clearly, it was printed. So, I have to ask myself, why is my brother writing secretive love letters to some guy? Wait - some guy... Miranda's Fabian!? Hmmm... Leone. Where have I heard that name before?
No! Never! No!
I clear the text from the unsaved file, and then I close the program.
I no longer believe in love! Love has ruined me. Love is the attention I don't need! Love is why I used to cut myself! Love is why she used to cut me! She wanted love!
I'm not. I'm not. I'm not going crazy!
She can hear me. She can always hear me. But now I know her name. Leone. And names are powerful things.
And then I hear my brother, turning his key in the locked door behind me.