by Mariela Flores ’23
There is someone following me.
I can hear their footsteps and the way that they mimic my own. Their smell is familiar and strong, and it makes me sick to my stomach. They follow me as I go left and right, they follow me as I step onto the bus and step off, and they follow me as I sit down.
I can hear my heartbeat and how it threatens to leap out of my chest. I stare at my nails, chipping away the polish. I want to look distracted and unaware
that there is someone following me.
I step off the bus and I can feel them smiling. Their presence envelops me, and my palms begin to sweat. I want to turn around, I want to scream and shout, but my words get stuck in the promise of asking for help.
My feet begin to tire as I walk as fast as I can; I want to run and move away, find somewhere safe to stay, but they will not leave me, no, they will not leave me.
Someone is following me as I enter my home.
They try so hard not to make it known, but my tears are welling up in my eyes and I begin to shake. As I walk into the bathroom, I fear I made a mistake.
Someone is following me as I step into the shower and I can hear them just beyond the curtain. They begin to laugh, and I begin to cry. There is nothing left to do but to face them and look them in the eyes.
I step out now, afraid of what I’ll see.
But I look into the mirror, and all I see is me.