Ever since she got back from camp she felt different; like she was outside herself looking down. She was no longer in her head, no longer questioning everything and wondering what he would tell her to do next and why. She liked having her time to herself and being able to do as she pleased, but she felt as though something was missing, something she couldn't explain. But, she survived without him before and she would survive without him again.
She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear and glanced at her notebook. Her physics notes seemed to blur together. The wind was getting stronger, blowing the pages in her notebook. Autumn was here and the leaves were beginning to fall off the trees. Her mind wandered to him again. She wondered if he still thought of her; if he missed her. Did he talk to other people?. Of course not, he was just an illusion. She shook her head to rid herself of him. I spent the whole summer trying to get him out of my mind, I'm not going to ruin it, she thought. What if Adam was right though, what if he really talked to her? Nonsense, complete nonsense.
The cool breeze sent a chill down her back. Fall was beautiful, especially in Arcadia. The leaves turning bright reds and yellows. She reached for her jacket, her hands brushed against the chipped wood of the bench. Her jacket must have fallen. She bent to pick it up as a hand grabbed it. Her eyes followed the thin figure in front of her. His jeans fit perfectly around his legs. The brown corduroy jacket hung loosely on him as it always has. The elbows were worn in. She didn't want him there but felt better because he was. She hated him for that. He held out her jacket and she slipped her arms into the sleeves. The warmth of it surprised her.
"Better keep that on Joan, you'll catch a cold."
"What are you doing here?" she demanded. His blue eyes simply stared back at her. Hers were beginning to tear. She didn't want him to see her cry again, to know how much he affects her. She fought the urge to cry. "Of course you won't tell me!" she said. "You never tell me anything." She stared at the grass and crossed her arms. She didn't want to see him, to hear him; he was fake, and illusion. She desperately wanted him to be fake, but knew deep down that if he wasn't, she wouldn't be crazy. She didn't want to be crazy and didn't want to others to think that she is, especially Adam. Her thoughts shifted to him. She missed him. Even though she was back, she felt distant from him, as if her "normalcy" was somehow pushing them apart.
"You're thinking about Adam."
"So?" she asked matter-of-factly.
"Adam misses you too." Her eyes began to fill.
"Why are you doing this to me?" she whispered. This time she could no longer hold back the tears. They slid down her face, to her cheeks. He reached up and tenderly brushed them off her face. Her emotions always got the best of her and in her opinion that was one of her biggest faults.
She thought of what it was like without him. She thought things were uncertain when he was around, but now realized that when she was around him, things were much clearer. She didn't want to feel crazy anymore but longed for him to be close.
He smiled the half smile that almost lets her forget who he actually is. God. "Don't worry Joan, everything will be okay now," he assured her. "I'm not going anywhere."