They were figments of her imagination, born within the recesses of her mind. She could feel their sweet breath, hear their whispers in her ear, smell their unique scent. It is because of them she appeared lovely and happy to those who pass her in the street. But to those that know her, her eyes are vacant. Her voice has become distracted and feeble.
At first, she was able to realize that others around her could not see her angelic visitors. This, of course, confirmed her own belief that she is special, destined for greatness and beauty. She alone has received this gift, these constant companions. She kept their existence a secret, protecting them. She spent magical hours talking to them in the night, listening to their songs, their knowledge of life.
Soon they had a firm grasp on her sanity. She no longer cared to keep the secret. She would ask people “Do you not see them?” Her words began to take on an ominous meaning for her loved ones, she always spoke of this invisible pair that they could not see or hear. In hushed tones she would whisper in a frightening voice, “But they are here! They are here!” These beautiful yet horrible beings that had taken over her life. The woman they knew and loved, the girl that they remembered was no more. She had descended into a spiral of madness, never to return. She has turned inward, retreated for the world around her. They are still there, of course. She cannot get rid of them. They steal things and pull her hair. She curses the day they came, for it was the day she began to forget.
She no longer knows her name or her age. She’s not sure exactly where she lives. People come and visit her. One visitor claims to be her daughter, but it cannot be true. She knows that she’s not old enough to have a grown child. Or is she? Does she remember a child? Her mind is like fog, the memories are mist. She looks in the mirror at a face she does not recognize. But she recognizes them. They did this. And they will not go away.
This post features Innocence, painted by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)