An Unknown Outcast

February 20, 2012
Rob Henderson’s feet hit the ground at a normal pace, down a normal street, on a normal day. But Rob Henderson was the opposite of normal and he knew it. In a few seconds he knew another “display” as he called them would take place. And it did. This time it was a brilliant gold biplane, weaving in and out of the skyscrapers like a needle to thread. Slowly it began to lose its confidence and altitude, clipping the sides of buildings, each time splattering golden streaks upon them. It dipped dangerously low, low enough for a human to touch, and then plunged into the side of a building with a massive boom that shook the ground he was standing on. Rob studied the faces of the people walking past him, and saw no signs of fear or panic; he knew that no one saw what he had just witnessed. Only he had. Rob Henderson was an outcast but no one knew it.
Rob started to quicken his pace in the direction of his apartment, and took a right onto 54th Street. “I can’t handle another one today” He thought to himself. Nearing his apartment, Rob took one last glance as the stranger’s faces; still no fear, still no panic. He walked up the steps and up to the main door jingling his keys in his pocket. After a lengthy trek that was spiced up with a few displays Rob had finally reached the finish line, his door. An off-white door, with only a few scuffs and dents from the drunk who lived a couple of floors up that would take the occasional tumble into it. The key found its place inside the handle and the door opened. Stepping into his home Rob breathed a sigh of relief as he felt all of the tenseness wash out of his body. He no longer had to worry about displays and strangers, Rob now had Lucy. Lucy was a Westie, like the kind that you see on the Cesar dog food cans, only slightly larger as a result of all of the table scraps she receives. She was the color of snow, with the exception of her nose, eyes, and unwashed legs. Lucy was all that Rob had, his family, his friends, his love, everything. But the most important thing about Lucy was that when Rob is around her, he is a completely normal person; no displays.
Lucy’s feet tapped their way up to Rob, and he knelt down to give her a proper greeting. “You’re such a good girl,” he said as if he was talking to a baby, “yes you are!” Lucy’s mouth was wide open and panting, her tongue was flopping out to one side. Rob knew that somehow Lucy understood how much he relied on her. Rob walked to the kitchen, grabbed a beer, and laid down on the couch with Lucy clicking and clacking in close pursuit. He was exhausted, today had been packed with displays, but none of that mattered anymore. Rob was now behind a wall that was impenetrable to those unwanted visions. He drifted off to the calming sound of Lucy’s breathing.
“Today is Saturday” Rob said while still half asleep. Saturdays meant a tough decision for Rob. Choice number one: wander around the city looking for girls and a good time, but this had a major downside; displays. Choice number two: stay inside with Lucy, watch TV, and drink, which was boring, but it also meant a display-free day. “Well last week I stayed in…” Rob thought to himself, “eh, what the heck. I’ll go out I guess.” He then proceeded to get ready for his day. Shower, check hair, brush teeth, work on pick-up lines, check hair, feed Lucy, put on clothes, then a last minute hair-check just before leaving. Walking out the door Rob prepared for the first display of the day. He knew that just as he exited the building and stepped foot on to the concrete, there would be something waiting for him that no one else could see. As he reached the door to the outside world rob reassured himself; “it’s not real” and he pulled the door open. Nothing, at least nothing out of the ordinary, all Rob saw was a man walking his poodle, a cab rolling by, and a woman darting across the street who seemed to be late for work. After five straight years of displays, Rob seemed to be free of them. He walked down the street cautiously, “This has to be a fluke,” Rob thought to himself, but it wasn’t.
The day turned to night and there wasn’t a single display. It was eleven-thirty and Rob was drinking at O’Brien’s Pub by himself. The pub was quiet; the only sounds were that of the TV, and a few friends laughing in the back. The jingle of the door colliding with a bell signaled that someone else had entered. It was a girl, and a fairly attractive one at that. She had on an orange and white sundress that stopped just above her knees. Just as Rob was wondering how a girl that beautiful could be out by herself she sat down on the barstool next to him. Out of the corner of his eye Rob studied her; she had short wavy brown hair and outstandingly blue eyes. She did not order a drink, which was strange, but instead she turned towards Rob and introduced herself.
After a few more hours into the night Rob felt like he knew everything about this girl. Her name was Sadie, and just as Rob had guessed, she was twenty-three. Sadie was perfect; she was fresh out of college and living with a few friends in an apartment down the street. She didn’t get out much, hated cats, and loved the bagel restaurant “Sesame’s” just like he did. He knew that he wouldn’t ever find a girl like Sadie again, so he gathered the courage to ask her back to his place. She delightfully accepted and they headed out into the outside world once more. Their hands clasped each others as they walked down the street, looking up at the sky and discussing whether it would rain or not. Just as it started to sprinkle, they found Rob’s apartment. Rob pulled out his keys, and tossed them up and back into his palm. He unlocked the initial door and stepped inside after Sadie, being as gentlemanly as possible. Rob showed her up the three flights of stairs that led to his apartment door, “I can’t wait for you to meet Lucy,” he said, “She’ll love you, she’s a sweetie.” She replied excitedly stating that she loves dogs, and that she had been meaning to get one for her own apartment. Rob smiled back at her and opened the door, “Well…welcome to my place!” he said, as Lucy ran up to the door and greeted them both. Rob looked back seeking approval from Sadie, but she was gone.
Rob fell to the ground and began to cry. He realized that the only girl that had ever liked him was not real. Sadie had been a display.

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