The Stranger

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Tink goes the droplet of water when as makes contact with the bottom of the tin bucket.

“Before reacting, how about you take a couple of breaths, maybe count to…..”

Blah, blah, blah goes the ‘team leader’. I am completely engrossed in the water-tin interaction taking place under the leak in the corner of the room. It’s raining outside, and I love rain. There is no way I’m going to spend my time listening to some idiot prattle on about anger and controlling yourself when there is a show taking place in this room, and it’s even paid for! I think I was up to 332.…

“Shannon, do you mind repeating what I just said?”

I turn to the idiot that had just interrupted my game.

“Argh!!! Couldn’t you see I was busy?!” I shout at the teacher.

“Shannon, you haven’t heard a word I’ve said all lesson, have you?”

“Lesson? You call this a lesson? This is group therapy for troubled kids! I could be out doing something meaningful, but instead I’m supposed to be listening to your crap? No, thanks.”

“Shannon, if you..”

“1, 2, 3,”

I had taken up my previous game of counting the drops of water hitting the bucket.

“Shannon, listen to me when I talk to you!”

“7, 8, 9”

I hear laughter all around the room, and I find it hard not to crack a smile myself.

“That’s it young lady, go wait…..”

“I’m outta here….”

I barely hear her finish her sentence before I slam the door in her face. It’s all crap, me being there. I didn’t even do anything. It was all Toby, but I doubt my parents would know that. We don’t know what to do with you.. They say. You could have been killed! They say. They don’t ask if it was my fault, or what happened to make me do it. Lost in my thoughts, I almost don’t realise it when I almost trip over someone lying down in the middle of the street. I turn back, and see a lifeless body limp and drenched. I walk up to him, and bend down to get a better look at him. He had long, black hair and a friendly aura about him. I don’t know why, but at that moment, I thought I had to save him.

I grab the hood of his jacket and drag him to shelter underneath a small bridge. I lay him against the brick wall and sit opposite him. Just watching him was really calming. It seemed like I was watching him for hours when he finally opened his mouth.

“Food..” He said weakly.

I came back with 2 slices of bread and a glass of water.

“Sorry, this was all the lady in the shop would spare.” I say, staring at him intently. He ate the food as if he hadn’t eaten in months, and after he was done he let out a long sigh.
“And who are you?” He asked.
“Uhhh.. I-I’m Shannon” I say, kind of shakily. He grins and thanks me in a way that makes my heart skip a beat.
“You don’t have to stay with me, Shannon.” He tells me.
“No, it’s cool. I wanted to.” I reply smiling at him.
“ Tell me about yourself, Shannon” He takes another sip of water.
“W-What do you want to know?” I ask, confused?
“Anything you want to tell me” He says, smiling and staring into my mind.
So I vent. I tell him about why I was in that therapy session.

“About 3 months ago, I attempted suicide.” I tell him. “I wasn’t really myself at the time. My old boyfriend, Toby, had gotten drunk one time. He put a knife to my throat, and beat me up. I tried to fight back, and I punched him in the face. From then on, he stalked me, and sent me death threats. I-I just didn’t know what to do, you know?”

The stranger just eyed me, his blank expression not changing one bit.
“So I tried crashing my mums car, you know, hoping to die, but I only sprained my foot and destroyed my mums car. My mum thought I took it for a joyride. My dad stopped speaking to me. They didn’t even act like they were worried….” I paused to swallow my tears. “So I told them I tried to kill myself. I thought that would change things. But they went crazy. My mum started drinking more….” I was finding it increasingly difficult to continue on without crying. “They sent me to a therapy session, but they didn’t ask questions. They didn’t even ask why…” I was in tears now, so I stopped.
Me and the stranger just sat there for a while, me crying. After I was done, he opened his mouth.

“Are you done?”

I nodded. He leaned over to wipe the tears off of my face.

“It always help to have someone to cry to…” he said in a warm voice.
I was feeling sleepy. “What’s your name….” I said sleepily, but I didn’t get an answer before falling into a slumber.

I woke up in my room. I checked around for signs of the stranger only to find myself on my own. It must have been a dream… I found myself feeling empty, until I found a note on my bedside table.

'I’ll always be here for you.'

At that moment I knew that it wasn’t a dream, and that he’d always be with me.





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