a story by pushkar prabhat
He knew it was all in his mind but that feeling of being followed had been following him for weeks now. He had been at several dinners, parties, meetings, since that thought had seized his mind. How could no one else have noticed? Not even his family? It must be in his mind.
He was an action oriented person. He had already sought professional help. He had been taking his medicine. He was also meditating longer than his usual schedule. But the paranoia had only increased. He couldn’t shake off that feeling. And nothing seemed to have been of any significant help. He was not the superstitious kind. He was a modern corporate professional and he had been dealing this quite professionally, by ignoring it and focusing on real issues. But that thought had been claiming his sanity bit by bit.
What had started with a simple chuckle to self, and grown into deep breaths had now turned into spectrophobia. He, someone who used to take a lot of selfies and someone who used to change profile pictures every day, was now afraid of his reflection on his mobile or laptop screen. He had recently broken up with his long time girlfriend and living alone had already been difficult. And with this new situation, loneliness had been a violent catalyst. Every potential mirror had been covered. He had stopped using utensils and cooking altogether. Even with takeouts, he would only order from restaurants which used non reflective packing.
His work life had also taken a hit. He had a meeting coming up for the project he had been working on for a year. Needless to say he was a mess. His colleagues had been bugging him about his facial hair. And since the meeting was just around the corner, his boss had, that day for the first time in his career, given him a firm advice regarding his appearance. After coming home that day, and after taking a good look at his current condition, he said to himself, “Enough!”. He was so disappointed in himself. He had to take action.
He approached the mirror at the sink, removed the covering with his eyes closed. He tried to calm his nerves with long breaths but all he could do was run away to his living room. He felt so helpless and angry. But he was determined and came up with a solution. He, eyes closed, covered the mirror again but left a little space in the centre where only his cheeks could be visible, after all, for now, all he needed was a shave. He opened his eyes. His idea had worked. He took the cream, the razor and soon he had successfully gotten rid of those nasty facial hairs. He couldn’t help but smile. Yes, there it was his prized smile. For a minute he forgot everything.
As he was admiring his smile and cleaning the razor, he mistakenly looked down, at his reflection in the water collected in the sink. His reaction, with the razor in his hand, was so intense that he shaved off a big piece of his cheek skin. Taken aback by what had happened, he stumbled back. He looked up. He had found his stalker. He carefully approached the mirror and took down the cover. He had lost a lot of time, his life had been turned upside down, and now, this, bleeding wound was all because of that evil bastard. He had him in sight, peeking from under his skin. It was a fight for survival and the stalker had no odds in his favor.
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