Killing The Imagination - Shreya Sachdev
Jimmy couldn’t believe the terrible day he had just had. His girlfriend had broken up with him over a text message, and immediately blocked him on all social media platforms afterwards so that he had no means of contacting her. Later that day, his boss had called him into his office because he wanted to speak to him about something. Jimmy was excited because he actually thought that he was being promoted to senior vice president, but instead Jimmy was fired, and his boss could not even give him a decent explanation for his unexpected decision.
Now, Jimmy stood outside of his house door and slowly began to open it, knowing that this would be the last time that he would twist his keys around and walk inside of his home. He had made the decision to kill himself because nothing in his life was going the way that it was supposed to. As Jimmy stepped inside and turned the lights on, his jaw dropped open. He dropped his keys and took a step back whilst not being able to articulate a single word. All he could do was force himself to rub his eyes to make sure that he wasn’t having an illusion and that the figure in front of him was real. Yet, all Jimmy could do was stare at his childhood imaginary friend, Timothy, sitting on a chair in his house right in front of him.
“Did you miss me?” asked Timothy as he smiled at Jimmy.
“W-w-what?” stuttered Jimmy as he began to take a few steps back.
Timothy frowned “Don’t look so surprised. You’re the one who called me, remember.” replied Timothy
“What are you talking about? You’re not even real.” said Jimmy.
“I sure seemed real to you when you would come home crying everyday after school because you got thrown in the trash again.” replied Timothy as he rolled his eyes.
Jimmy froze. He couldn’t believe what Timothy had just said, and how accurate his words were. All of a sudden, the memories of Jimmy being lifted and thrown in the trash, duct taped to the toilet, and slammed across a locker came flooding back to him. He remembered how he would cover up the bruises on his face by putting his jacket’s hood all the way down to his face as he walked to his room with his head faced down, so his mother wouldn’t see his face and begin to ask questions like any caring mother would. One time, Jimmy’s mother stopped him before he could reach his room and demanded him to take off his jacket. When Jimmy’s mother saw the cuts and marks on her son’s face, she began to tear up and ask so many questions that Jimmy didn’t even know what to say. That was when Timothy crawled into Jimmy’s mind and convinced Jimmy to tell his mother that he had fallen down in gym, and that all his injuries were an accident. Surprisingly, the plan worked and Jimmy’s mother calmed down a little bit. Throughout Jimmy’s childhood, Timothy had been there for him through thick and thin. Jimmy would tell Timothy everything that bothered him, and all the kids in school that made him feel bad. Timothy would listen, and comfort Jimmy whenever Jimmy needed him. Timothy was Jimmy’s best friend.
“Is this actually you?” Asked Jimmy in a hesitant tone.
“Of course it is. I’m always here for you. I always have been. Even if you weren’t always there for me” replied Timothy.
When Jimmy entered high school, things seemed to get a little bit better for him. Jimmy found a good group of friends that resembled him and were interested in the same kind of things that he was. However, Jimmy made the mistake of telling his group of friends that he had an imaginary friend named Timothy. Once his friends found out about this, they began to ignore Jimmy and didn’t want him inside of their friendship group. Jimmy soon realized his mistake, and understood that he should have never told his group of friends that he had an imaginary friend as well. He knew that if he wanted to survive in the real world, he needed to interact with real people and have real conversations. He had a choice to make. Who was he going to choose? His imaginary friend, Timothy, or his real group of friends? Jimmy decided to get rid of Timothy, and chose his real group of friends.
When Jimmy told his friends that he didn’t have an imaginary friend anymore, they slowly began to accept him inside of their friendship group again, and Jimmy was thrilled. However, it wasn’t soon until Jimmy began to have nightmares about Timothy stalking him and getting angry at him for just leaving him to fit in with the crowd. Over the next few years, however, these thoughts began to fade away and Jimmy was able to lead a normal life. This was the first time in fifteen years that Jimmy had seen Timothy again.
“You’re the one who called me, Jimmy. What’s wrong? Tell me. I can fix your problems. Don’t be afraid to let yourself be vulnerable. It felt good when you let me help you when we were kids, didn’t it?” Timothy asked.
“I don’t need you. You’re not real. Imaginary friends are for people who have no interaction with the real world. That’s not me” said Jimmy as he began to feel a bit more confident.
“Well, I’m sure we can both agree that interacting with the real world is a pain. I mean, look at what’s happened to you today” said Timothy.
Jimmy raised his eyebrows “How do you know about that?” Jimmy yelled.
“You called me to tell me, don’t you remember?” Timothy replied, remaining calm.
“I didn’t call you. I would never. I am done with you, and I thought I made that clear to you when I kept forcing to get out of my mind everytime you would try and enter it” yelled Jimmy.
“Why can’t you admit that you need help right now? Allow me to take care of you” shouted Timothy
“You listen to me. I will never go back to having you as my best friend. All the other kids would laugh at me when I told them that I had an imaginary friend that seemed real. I have left that part behind me.” said Jimmy in a stern voice.
“Obviously you haven’t because if you did, then your mind wouldn’t have been begging for me to come over tonight” replied Timothy now with his voice lowered.
“Just get out right now before I call the cops.”
“You know they won’t be able to see me” Timothy chuckled.
Jimmy, furious with the conversation, dashed into his kitchen and threw open his bottom right drawer to take out his kitchen knife. He then ran back inside of the living room and held the knife up to show Timothy.
“Isn’t that for you?” Timothy asked remaining calm
“It was, but now I think it’s going to be used for something else” Jimmy replied as he began to walk to Timothy.
“Try all you want, but you know it would just go through me” said Timothy
Jimmy stopped “So you admit it? You know that you’re not real” said Jimmy
Timothy smirked “Jim, don’t you know yet? The mental is more real than the physical. You can’t destroy me. What are you going to do now?”