I’m still hearing things. Eoghan comes by every other day and we talk. He works me through exercises that are meant to strength my mind.

At first I honestly thought he was a little crazy, I was sure none of what we were doing was helping. It might have just shown on my face or I suppose he could see it in my thoughts since he’s like that too. Earlier today, just before he left to go back upstairs to his own apartment, he told me to take the bracelet off. I panicked. His eyes softened and he laughed softly, resting his hand on mine.

“Just for a minute to show you that what we’re doing isn’t just for show.” He’d said.

I tried to calm my wildly beating heart down and I closed my eyes, breathing in and out slowly for a few heartbeats until I did feel myself somewhat calmer. He had told me to never take it off until he told me I could, I suppose this is just one of these times. I’ve grown so used to wearing it though that it’s strange to think I’m taking it off like this.

It took a moment of fussing to be able to get it off my wrist. I was terrified that the voices would all attack me at once. His fingers never left mine while I took the bracelet off, it’s what let me actually get it off. Else I would have kept on being too shaky to manage.

“Now, focus a little, think and imagine yourself closing the windows inside your mind the way I’ve shown you. I’ll be pulling my hand back.” His words had been calm, soothing and I kept my eyes closed, trying to imagine myself closing windows in my head. It felt foolish. He slowly pulled his hand away and I gasped in terror as voices swarmed in my mind.

“Close the windows.” His only comment still at that point as I tried a bit harder, I pictured myself closing one window and locking it. The voices grew slightly softer. I went around my head, closing window after window. When I was done, the voices were quiet again, still there, but almost murmur soft as they are with the bracelet. The issue was that whenever I stopped picturing those closed windows, the voices blasted in.

He rested his hand on mine again and I sagged with a frustrated noise, almost a soft sob. I felt so weak just then, I couldn’t help it. The bracelet was put back on and he just smiled at me.

“It’s all brand you for you, Armin. That’s why it’s so hard. But if you practice a little every day, you will get stronger. Corny as it is, the saying that Rome wasn’t built in one day is true.”

I laughed then and he reached over, actually kissed my forehead and went back to his place.

He makes me feel warm, wanted really. It has been years since anyone has been anything but professionally cool in my presence at most. I find myself crying away at night before I fall asleep. I’m swarming with little bits of happiness at knowing I might not be a complete loser, there might be someone out there who can care for me in some way, even if just as a friend.

Lately though, I’ve been telling myself that these murmurs I still hear in my head are ghosts. It makes it easier to accept right now. I know I’m lying to myself but I don’t care. I have my own ways of accepting things and it’s easier to start to accept these voices if I believe they’re otherworldly, at first.

Long story short, I tell myself I’m haunted.

It honestly amuses me and it keeps me from a breakdown I know could be right around the corner if I didn’t try to accept everything with a little bit of a grain of salt. It just makes it all easier.

So I’m haunted. I have ghosts up in my head and it actually makes me smile a little bit. At times, when it will be quiet and work isn’t the foremost thought on my mind, I’ll close my eyes and try to focus on what’s going on in my head. The murmurs are so soft that it’s not all that easy but I’d like to believe that this focusing thing to try to pay attention to only one of the many murmurs in my mind might help me grow stronger.

Yesterday, one of these voices was going on about needing bread and milk and cereals and a bunch of other foodstuffs. I laughed, I laughed so hard I actually fell out of my couch. I couldn’t handle the thought of a ghost needing to buy groceries, it amused me a lot more than it should have. I think it’s good though, I need laughter in my life, even if it’s from finding these things absolutely ridiculous. There’s no reason not to laugh at life, after all. It had been some years since I last had.

I know Eoghan said I shouldn’t take the bracelet off unless he tells me to but I do want to practice the windows. I have nothing else to do with my time. I know that if I’m just holding onto the bracelet, it doesn’t work. It really has to encircle my wrist, as if it needed a direct, inner connection to my veins, to my pulse, my heart. I don’t know how it works, I’m not about to ask, I just know that it works.

I settle on my bed, a new bed that they got for me and I feel indebted for it. My old one was falling apart, this one is so comfortable I nearly instantly fall asleep the moment I fall into it (that and the steam shower, I feel my joints are so much less painful now, it’s wonderful!). I look down at my bracelet, I squirm a bit to nestle along the pile of decorative pillows and I carefully pull it off. I cling to it with my second hand and I close my eyes. I focus on closing the windows through the loud chorus of voices.

They’re not as loud as they were in the old apartment. I don’t know if it’s because I’m just barely further away from civilization, blocked away from it by two blocks, two buildings where only seven other people in all live. Maybe. Eoghan says that an untrained mind can extend very far but still has its limits. Move someone into the middle of the desert with no one around for miles and the mind will be quiet. A trained mind can reach further but doesn’t need as much protection from the voices.

I can hold the windows closed for a few moments but I feel as if there’s always one slipping past my watch and breaking open. After a few minutes, when I begin to feel my head pounding, I slip the bracelet back over my wrist and I sag even more against my pillows.

Practice. It’s all I need. It will take a lot of time, he says, but if I’m good and I practice well, I’ll make progress in the right direction and it’s all we’re after just now.


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