Like most kids with no friends I’ve had imaginary friends. I used to have a cat and a friendly octopus but now I just have Mrs. Ramshaw. She’s an old lady with swollen legs who I imagine lying in the guest bedroom, which is the next bedroom down from mine. I’ve never really pictured her face, just her swollen legs projecting over the edge of the bed. I guess she’s that tall.
I can’t fall asleep without first thinking of Mrs. Ramshaw in the other room. I think of how old and sick she is, and how her fat legs stick out. It doesn’t make sense but I only feel comfortable and ok if I know she’s there. She doesn’t say anything or do anything, just lays there breathing. My mom takes pink tranquilizers. Mrs. Ramshaw’s legs are my pink tranquilizers. I just think of them sticking out and I drift to sleep.
I guess I try not to think about Mrs. Ramshaw’s face because I’m worried – it might be my face. In the morning when I wheel past the guest bedroom, I always check. I can’t go by without checking. But I know if I ever really saw Mrs. Ramshaw lying there with my face I’d flop over dead. It’s unhealthy, but it’s always how I imagined I’d die.
It could possibly be a lot worse.
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