They Call Me Dylan

by Annie Godin


A teenager living in Brookyln, dealing with the loss of his father, and self doubt.

                                                                                               They Call Me Dylan

    Dear Journal,    it's me again. I'm currently sitting at McCarren Skate Park in downtown Brooklyn. I'm sitting on a bench, smoking the last of my Marlboro 100's, and nobody is here. I really have got to quit my smoking habit. I know that it is disgusting. It helps me calm down when I'm in public though, so I think it's okay. That's just how I like to think of it at least. Everyone has their own vices, apparently this is mine, and I have many. It's about eight-thirty PM and most everyone goes home now because it's sort of dangerous. My mom says this is where some gangs meet up, but I think she is a liar. I come at this time though so I can be alone, but I'm watching all around me for anyone trying to get me. I can feel people around me all the time, even when nobody is actually there. I know that they are though, despite what any of the doctors or my mother tells me. I'm getting really damn tired of people telling me that everything will be "okay".

Brooklyn has been somewhat good for me, a lot better than the Bronx were. We only moved because my dad recently killed himself, so we got all of the money that he had made during his life. My dad dealt with Paranoia and Schizophrenia since he was sixteen years old, and I am eighteen. My mom says she sees similarities between him and I. That really pisses me off, but I like to know we were the same in some ways. She says that I am my own person, but I don't even feel like myself. Sometimes I don't even feel real at all. Dylan is just my name, it's what people call me. Just because I have this name that everyone's called me for years, doesn't make me a real person. I hate that I don't even feel like myself. It makes me paranoid that'll turn out just like him, dead. He left us when I was six, but I still remember him. I remember how angry he would get out the blue, but how hard he would work at home. His problems enabled him from working at a real job, so he was a writer, and a very successful writer at that. His stories ranged from personal horrors and experiences of things, and images he saw. In his writings, he'd make it very easy to tell that he was dealing with demons. Even though he left us, I'd rather him be alive than dead, and my mom and I left with his fortune. I really don't care about money, but I guess living here is better for us.

You're the only one that I feel safe confiding in, even though you're not a real person. I've been trying really hard to be normal, and not feel so paranoid all the time. Yesterday at school I could barely stay in class because I kept puking when I looked at everyone around me. I just have these horrible visions that my friends aren't even my friends. It's not just them, it's my mother too. Last night she made my favorite meal, but she didn't actually make it. She got it from the food truck that goes by our apartment complex every afternoon and evening around seven o' clock. She unwrapped the chili dog from the foil, and put it on a plate from our house. I just got the worst feeling that they were tricking me, and actually poisoned my food. They didn't, but that doesn't make my feelings any less valid. It's just really hard having everyone in Brooklyn look at me when I walk by somewhere. That's what people do here, everyone looks at everyone, and strangers talk to strangers. I mean, people are usually kind, but it's all fake! I try to tell my friends that their neighbors aren't good people, or that their own family members are going to hurt them in the long run. When I tell them this, they get so angry with me. I'm starting to lose all of my friends, but I guess that's okay. I knew they weren't real friends to begin with. I could tell that even my closest friend, Jayden, was doing shady things behind my back. Who knows what that shady thing was, but I'm sure there was something.

It's about nine PM now, and the sun has completely set, and I'm nervous that somebody is coming for me soon. My mother always worries about me when I run off to the park, because she says that even though I don't cause trouble, I'll find a way to get myself in trouble. Even though I'm paranoid every second of everyday, I still try to get out of the apartment. Sometimes I get so scared of my mom, and being alone with her. My dreams at night have been so horrible that I don't even think I should write it down. If I do, maybe my mom will see it and it will come true, but I'm going to hide this journal very well. My dreams have been filled with violent nightmares of my mom killing me, and our dog. In the dreams she acts like she always does, normal and kind. As soon as I go to bed, she pours gasoline all over the floor, steps outside the door, and lights the whole apartment on fire. Everyone inside the complex dies, but I die the worst death of all. Everyone talks about me when I'm dead, making fun of things that I didn't accomplish, and most of all my crazy mother, and then my crazy father. I don't want my legacy to be about my problems. I don't know when I got to be so strange, and feel so disconnected from everyone and everything. People can tell that I'm afraid of them, and that's my biggest weakness. They're all going to use that against me someday, and there's nothing I can do about it now.

The nervous feeling inside me is growing because I know I have to walk home now. What if somebody jumps me? What if I get so scared that I collapsed to the ground? I can't handle all of this stress weighing down on me. It's way too much for me to handle. There's something wrong with everything about me, and everything around me. My hands are starting to shake even writing this. I'll write more in the middle of the night when I wake up from a nightmare, but for now, I've got to go. Thanks again journal, you're the only one that I trust.

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