“I’m very glad you’re giving me a chance to explain myself. I really think I’ve gotten better. I used to be so sure I was right, but I guess that’s what really makes a person crazy, to just believe that they are completely right and that there are no other possibilities. I remember that this all happened when my wife Sarah and I were going to Rolling Pointe for the weekend. It was this little resort town off a lake. We planned on sunbathing and seeing all the local tourist attractions. Unfortunately we never got there. The day we left we started packing late and we ended up leaving a lot later than we should have sometime around 5 p.m. It was around 1 a.m. that we got too tired to drive and we ended up stopping in this sleepy little town called ‘New Durham’ that was off the highway. There was a dingy hotel with half burned out neon lights that read ‘Vacancy.’ we pulled into the parking lot and we got a room for the night. It was the standard type of dingy motel room you’d find vacant at one in the morning. We got in bed and spooned as we usually do when we go to bed and slowly I fell asleep.
I don’t remember what I dreamt but I remember waking up abruptly from a nightmare. I was covered in a cold sweat and for some reason I noticed the strong smell of her perfume in the room. It had to be sometime around noon when I woke, I rolled over on the bed and I noticed that Sarah was gone. There wasn’t even an imprint on the pillow for where her head should have been. I got up and checked the bathroom. She wasn’t in there either. I checked the car to see if she was there but she wasn’t. I was starting to get worried, but I tried to relax. There had to be a logical explanation to what was happening. I went into the dingy lobby of the motel and asked the clerk if he’d seen my wife. I think it was then that I really started to panic because he had seen my wife that night. I remember him looking at us both. He even said ‘ya’ll have a nice night’ to us when we took the key to the room. But this morning he told me that I came in alone last night.
I started to argue with him but he told me I was crazy. I demanded that he call the police.
When they came they asked to see the security footage for the night before. It was then that I started to think that someone was playing a trick on me. In the video you could clearly see someone who looked like me walking into the lobby. Getting a key and walking out to the room with the clerk, my wife was nowhere to be seen. I started screaming that the film was a fake and that someone had kidnapped my wife. The police took a report but couldn’t file a missing person report until 48 hours had passed. I called my brother John and asked him to come down to the town because Sarah was missing. It was then that I started to think I was going crazy, because he answered: ‘who’s Sarah?’ I didn’t know what was happening after that. I remember that I stayed at the dilapidated motel for that entire weekend waiting for her. John came and eventually so did my parents. They started trying to tell me that they had no idea who Sarah was. I told them that I had been married to her for 5 years and they kept telling me that I was single. Eventually I had to go home. I remember that when I got to our apartment that it looked like half of the furniture was missing.
All the things that we bought together over the years were gone. It was a bachelor’s pad I had returned to, not the happy home I made with my Sarah. I started looking though our old photo albums. I needed to see a picture of her to know that she was real, but all the photos in those albums were of me standing alone. Or odd photographs I had taken of sunsets and city skylines that seemed to have the main focus missing. I tried to call her family and friends, but every number I called was disconnected. I called her work and they told me there was no employee that had that name. I couldn’t find our marriage certificate and after the 48 hours. There was a missing person report made. But there was no record of that person. I remember having dreams about her name on the back of milk cartons with a caption under the ‘have you seen this person’ label that read: No picture Available.
My family told me that I was crazy, but I didn’t want to believe them. I knew Sarah was real. I remember going to Seattle with her, I remember buying her a kitten for her birthday, I remember her telling me that she loved me and that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. I remember our wedding when we got married barefoot on the beach where we met and she pushed me into the wedding cake.
I knew she existed. I remember the night that John and my Dad brought me here. It was a Friday and I remember that the phone started ringing when they grabbed me. They started pulling me out the door and I knew it was Sarah on the phone. It had to be her on the phone. I just knew it. It was at that moment that I was waiting for that no one would listen to me. She had to have gotten free or found her way to a payphone or something. At first I kept trying to escape and get back to the outside world and maybe find her somewhere. I was so sure of it. But eventually I had to face reality.
I’ve realized that everyone was right. I was just delusional. I ended up losing my job and my home because I was so sure that Sarah was real. I didn’t want to believe the truth. But everyone was saying that she wasn’t real. It took me a while but I think I finally accepted the fact that she wasn’t real. The whole world couldn’t possibly create a conspiracy to just take away someone I love, right? I think my time here has helped me cope with my mental illness. I really think that I might be well enough go back to living on my own soon too Doctor.” Nathan finished his story as Doctor Moore opened his file.
“It’s very good that you’ve been able to cope, most people with your condition and severity of delusion have a very low rate of recovery.”
Nathan smiled at the doctor, but kept his eyes on the table.
“But, I still think you need another month before you can return to your life.” Doctor Moore said.
“But, I feel normal.” Nathan smiled.
“Well we need just a little more observation of your behavior to make sure you are able to return to the outside world and function.”
Nathan stopped smiling. “Okay.”
When Nathan returned to his room at he lay on his bed spooning his pillow. When he closed his eyes he tried to remember the smell Sarah’s perfume as he drifted off to sleep.