I am walking towards the science building when Adam appears next to me out of nowhere. He kisses me lightly and his warm breath reminds me of Chesterfields. It’s a taste I grew to love since I started dating him almost a year ago.
“How was it?” he asks, lighting a cigarette. I watch him twist the match in his calloused fingers, letting it burn all the way. As always, he misreads my curious gaze as impatient and quickly throws the charred remains in the fresh snow. He thinks I hate his habits and well-rehearsed patterns. But he’s wrong; I love everything about him. I’m certain we’re soul mates, halves of the same whole. I’m a fretting, nervous college junior who blames all her failures on ADD, he’s obsessed with details and applying logic to life. We complete each other perfectly. The fear of losing this, losing him, makes me hesitate, but I know I must be honest.
“Pretty bad,” I start. “Manic depression with anxiety attacks.”
Adam doesn’t say a word, he just hugs me. Next to his jacket, in his strong arms, I feel better. He makes everything better.
“They say that with the right meds it’s going to be fine. Plenty of people have some sort of problem like this, especially college students. You know, because of the stress.”
Adam nods slowly but I know he doesn’t understand. His life is one single, clear line with no time for such nonsense as anxiety or stressing out. It’s times like this that I feel we live on different planets. However, his lips on my forehead remind me he is there, close to me, no matter what. After a deep breath, I go on.
“The problem is that it could be schizophrenia.” The words are finally out and I suddenly feel distant and alone. It feels like a slow-paced movie I follow with mild interest. The words replay in my head and I analyze how natural they sound, you could never guess I cried the whole night.
“Damn,” Adam says. The sound of this single word breaks my solitude, and the strange feelings I had just seconds ago are gone. He doesn’t freak out, he doesn’t look at me with worried eyes. He says what I needed to hear, what I wanted to hear. Damn, that’s bad but don’t worry, we’ll stay together through whatever comes our way. I love him more than ever. “Anything they can do?” he finally adds.
“Not really. I have to deal with it on my own, pretty much. There’s a support group they want me to see and all that, but not much they can actually do. There’s no test for schizophrenia and until they’re sure…” I carry on with pointless diagnostic details. He nods and asks a question or two.
We start walking again and holding Adam’s hand I feel better than I have in weeks. He makes it all better. He is there for me and that is all that matters.
“Hey, it’s all good as long as you don’t start seeing weird people,” Adam says with a playful smile. I slap him and giggle. Somehow he always knows the right moment for a joke. We must be matching souls, part of one whole. It’s the only way to explain how he can read my mind so easily.
“Of course I don’t see any weird people,” I say, trying to ignore the fact that I am the only one who leaves tracks in the fresh snow.
Alex Moisi is a Romanian-born college student, living in Illinois and ignoring real life issues like angry friends and failing classes in favor of post-apocalyptic scenarios and disturbing “What if?”s. His work can be found in Residential Aliens, Bewildering Stories, the Desolate Places anthology published by Hadley Rille books and Strange Worlds of Lunacy published by Cyberwizard Publications as well as on his website www.dracken.co.nr.