“You’re my favorite book character and I know how it ends and I want to change it!”
I froze in the door frame. Several things ran through my mind… who was this person? Where had they come from? Had I taken my meds yet?
It was obvious that I had been silent too long when they started to fidget. I should say something… but all that came to mind was- “What?”
They took a deep breath and repeated the phrase again. I blinked, still not really comprehending, and moved to the side. “Would you… like to come in?” I asked hesitantly.
They nodded vigorously and thoughts of serial killers ran through my mind as they stepped over the threshold, took their shoes off next to mine as if it was second nature, and headed towards my kitchen. Taking a deep breath and deciding that, if I had just invited my death in through the front door I had to deal with the consequences of my actions, I headed towards the kitchen behind them.
They had taken a seat at my little breakfast table, hands clasped on the faded blue tablecloth, looking around with something that seemed like wonder to me. I say “them” because I was honestly uncertain of their gender… though on second thought, with their opening line I was unsure of anything about them.
I poured the water in my electric kettle into my favorite mug, swirling the spoon lightly to familiar tink tink against the side as I walked to the table and sat down across from them.
They were of medium height, medium build, had medium length brown hair and medium brown eyes… Everything about them was average. My suspicions increased. I sipped my tea as their eyes finally came to rest on me.
“So, what’s your name?”
They looked shocked for a second, but settled their expression quickly, “Just call me JP, I guess.”
A cartoon character crossed my mind and a smile tickled my lips.
“And you're Adalynn,” they said it with a smile, almost child-like in its glee.
My smile disappeared. This was getting creepier by the minute. I sipped my tea, trying to gather my composure again. No one called my Adalynn, I always preferred if people called me- "It's just Ada."
That delighted smile again. The silence stretched on for ages. Normally I like silence, I let it wash over me like sunlight and wake me up gently with kisses of sound. But this silence felt like exposure - like a silent wind that stripped me of clothing and skin and pretenses.
"So... I'm your favorite character?"
JP's eyes focused on me again. In my silent panic I hadn't noticed when they had gone distant. But they focused with alarming speed and intensity as soon as I spoke.
"Yes, my favorite book character. You're very relatable, which is funny because humanity isn't very relatable normally..."
I felt like I was grasping for something that had fallen out of my chest and into my tea... or maybe that was my heart dropping into the pit of my stomach. Humanity? I mean sure, with that opening line I was expecting some sort of angle, but this was taking things a little far... right?
"Ada? Ada?" JP was waving at me, their hand held out straight in front of them, tipping back and forth like a two dimensional emoji. They smiled again and pointed towards my counter, "You haven't taken your dimitrol and ginko yet."
I blinked stone faced at them, not even looking at the counter to where I knew my little med cup would be. I made tea the same way every morning... and after tea I had a little tart cherry in water for my joints and to take my pills with.
"How?" I immediately regretted the question and held up my hand even as they opened their mouth, "Never mind, I don't want to know. Let's say you're telling the truth, I'm not hallucinating because I miscalculated my dosage this morning, and get more information first."
I stood up with a crack of my knees, grimacing because I obviously hadn't had my meds yet as they had pointed out, and walked over to the counter. While I measured out the cherry juice and mixed it methodically into the water glass I composed myself for what felt like the tenth time this morning.
"So... I'm your favorite book character and you want to... what, change my life?" I turned to lean against the counter and shot my pills.
JP beamed, "You're my school project. I'm going to rewrite your story and save you."