The Visitor I Longed For

Graphic by Hoor

Some people believe that a traumatic childhood often leads to the occurrence of strong, vivid but dull memories throughout the sufferer’s life, children with disturbing childhood experiences make horrible adults. If I choose to accept this theory, then I have no doubt or shame in accepting that I am an unstable individual. My therapist once said to me, “Gina, you can afford to live your life the way your mind allows you to. You don’t always have to swim, sometimes floating is enough,” Since then life has been easier, not happier because, for something to be happier, it first has to be happy. I often get such thoughts when I am walking around these empty streets, streets I grew up on. It has been immensely difficult for me to let go of my past because I have always been in the same place. How can you make fresh memories when every wall, every shop, every turn reminds you of the scarred girl who would tightly hold her father’s hand every time she crossed these places.

I never really had a proper reason for building this awful personality, perhaps it is just an amalgamation of too many harsh reasons. The reasons have faded with time, but the repercussions are unyielding. There have been very few instances in my life when I say this, and this is one such, but I am walking on my favourite patch, I love this place. This is the only place in my entire world because I have never seen anything outside this town that I have beautiful memories with. I used to come here with my maid, she would pluck lemons in the garden, and I would sit and talk to my imaginary friend. I remember the first time I met her, she was wearing a peach floral dress, her long, wavy brown hair tied into a ponytail with a blue satin ribbon. She never wore any shoes, she liked keeping her feet cold. This queer observation was what led to our friendship. I was seven years old when I saw her barefoot, I ran to her asking about her missing shoes and if I could help her find them. That is how we became friends. I loved her more than anything else in this world, she was my best friend, the sibling I never had. All of my fond memories are with her, I remember we used to sit on the bench in the opposite direction, with our legs dangling on the other side. The view consisted of a small, wrecked coffee shop where old men played cards. We always used to see the same old man there, every single day but he never won. We named him ‘ Grandpa Loser’. As a thirty-three-year-old woman, I now realize how rude it was of us to call somebody such a thing. I would tell Ski, “I am also like Grandpa Loser, if I play this game I would suck more than him.” Ski would scold me and tell me that I am filled with negativity, that I only see the bad things. Ski was my confidante, I would tell her everything, even about the toxic life I lived at home, sorry, at the place where I lived. 

Ski never believed that my father was a slave to his own brother, she never believed that he would beat my father in front of me, she would never believe how they used to lock me up inside the washroom until my father or maid came to rescue me. She never believed that my mother left me when I was a baby, but what she did believe was that my father loved me more than anybody would have ever loved their daughter, but both Ski and I understood how helpless he was. I never blamed him, in all my life. I miss him a lot, if Ski was still with me, even she would miss him a lot. Even though everybody believed that Ski was my imagination, I somehow didn’t. She was real, a real person. I am sure she was but then my maid killed her. I am sure she did, she hated me and she never liked bringing me to the garden. I went there because of Ski, so she killed her and told everybody that I would talk to the wind and had some problems. My maid is also one of the reasons why life became so miserable. I was so happy when she died in that car accident, I took Ski’s revenge.

Now life is different, obsolete, and I am ageing, but my later years have been better. I have the house all by myself after everyone died, I live with my butler and piano. It was a cold evening when I entered the house and asked the butler to rearrange the cabinet while I made tea for myself. As I added sugar to my milk, there was a knock on the door. I was a little sceptical because I never really had visitors. The last person who visited me was my therapist but she died because of drowning. I opened the door with those same shivering hands of the six-year-old inside me. I saw a woman, probably my age, but I knew who she was.I always knew who she was, always. A tall lady covered in a fur coat, a soft, blue muffler wrapped around her long neck with no boots. I could not feel a thing around me, numb, I was filled with tears with my heart thumping dangerously, it felt like I could smell lemons and see people playing cards, even though there were no lemons and no people around, but there was Ski, there was my long lost friend. I knew she was real, I was heartbroken that people tried to erase her from my memory, how could they? The one thing that kept me sane, always. 

The wood was burning, and my eyes gleaming, Ski went on with her tale, “Life has been so different, and so challenging. I wonder how it must have been to imagine me when I was there all the time.”

I sobbed as I said, “I always knew you were real.”.

Ski asked me a hundred questions about my life, my world, how I was, and since she was my confidante, I told her everything. Unlike old times, she was beginning to grow uncomfortable when I shared my secrets with her, earlier she would listen to me attentively, now she was continuously fidgeting and I could sense the nervousness on her face. Maybe time changes people and how they react to the same situations, but I still trusted Ski with my life, I told her everything, I told her every single thing. I knew it was a safe, non-judgemental space, nobody else would ever know. She was getting late and decided to leave, so I let her. 

“I will be waiting for you, come soon my real friend, my real, living, breathing friend.”

Ski gave me a nervous smile and left without saying a word.

The butler cleared the table and removed the teacups as Ski sat in the living room with a man, crying and looking petrified. Why did you make me go through this? I didn’t have to hear those things. She needs help, she really does,” Ski said breathlessly.

The man straightened his spectacles and said with a sigh, “That is what I am here for. Don’t you see, because of you we now know a lot more about Gina.”

Ski asked,” Why did you ask me to remove my boots? It was so cold.”

“It was the only way she would instantly believe that you were Ski.” 

“But I am not! I wish I never agreed to this, I feel so scared, I feel weird and dark.” The man patted her shoulders, and was about to say something comforting when she interrupted, “You can’t just leave her alone like this, she should be punished! Or worse, she should die, die the way she killed all those people. She told me horrible things Arthur, truly horrible things! She killed her therapist by pushing her into the water because she didn’t know how to swim. Gina told me that she did this only to make her realize how sometimes floating is not enough for one to live! She is a sadist,I want to forget whatever she said!”

The man exchanged looks with the butler, “We have to work together to know everything about her, as her psychiatrist, I have to be careful with these details. You have to help me, please. She won’t trust anyone but Ski, and you are Ski for her, you have to be.”

The lady sobbed and said, “Ski was anyway imaginary, but all the people she killed were real! What about them?” The man looked at her with guilty eyes, “Ski was not imaginary, she was real. She was one of the earliest people Gina killed. A blue satin ribbon, she was strangled to death with that piece of clothing.”

Everything and everyone froze, nobody had anything else to say.

The Butler went upstairs and carefully brought Gina’s diary. The last entry was made a few hours ago and it read,

Dear Papa,

I miss you a lot. You won’t believe who I met today! It was Ski, my best friend. I told you she was real, only if you would have believed me, I would have never killed you with that little pillow.I am sorry for what I did, I regret that night, I miss you. You know, life had been very obscure when I was sent to that rehabilitation centre. I was just ten years old, I had lost my best friend and as a family, you just let go of me, you never should have. I am sorry I poisoned Grandpa Loser’s coffee that day, but he couldn’t be a bigger loser than me. I am the unluckiest person in the world, nobody else can ever be. Anyway, I told Ski everything today, I feel light. I am happy she is back, she is the toughest person I know, I always knew she could survive anything, that is why I would tie her neck tightly with her ribbon when we were kids, it was my favourite game! When she disappeared, I knew that cruel maid might have killed her. I still don’t regret that I blew her car tires, even though now I know she did not kill my Ski, I still hate her. I am glad Ski is real, I always knew she was real. Today, I will sleep in peace, I can finally say that I am happy, and now after writing this I am “happier.”


                                                                                                                              “Your Gina.”

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