I’m proud of you for surviving. I’m proud of you for holding on. I’m proud of you for still breathing even when you’re already dead inside. I’m proud of you for believing even when you couldn’t see yourself beyond that moment. I’m proud of you for being here. I’m proud of you for still choosing to believe that God cares even your situation said otherwise. I’m proud of you for not giving up. Don’t you ever give up.
Lottie grew up to be the only daughter of the family. With four brothers, she finds herself lonely most of the time. She badly wanted to have a girl sibling. She wanted to have somebody whom she can share her secrets and talk to late at night. She was happy having four brothers who were always there to protect her but having a sister is such another story to tell. At the age of 13, Lottie knew she was different. And by different, she meant special.
She barely talked to someone in her school. Unlike those other girls, she would usually spend her time in the library reading books instead of hanging out. She felt lonely but at the same time, she doesn’t want to spend her time with people. She knew she needed friends. She knew she needed a companion. She knew she needed to go out. She knew she should hang out with friends. But she knew she couldn’t do these. She just couldn’t do all of these.
It was summer and the school year had ended. For the rest of the children, it was the most beautiful part of the year. They got to spend their summer vacation in other places, while some enrolled in different summer class sessions. But for Lottie, it was the most humdrum part of the year. Like there was never something exciting to look forward to. For her, she was just living in a monotonous life.
“Lottie, are you awake now?” asked her older brother, Tommy. “Dad and I are going outside to get us some fruits for lunch.”
Lottie was lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling, feeling the cold air coming in from outside her window. She knew her brother was outside her room but she can’t find the urge to answer. She turned her look at the window and feel the air as it became colder and colder. It was summer but some storm must have been coming that made the air a little colder. She got up from the bed and took her towel. She fixed her bed and planned to go out to visit her mother’s grave.
As she was preparing her clothes, she heard someone calling her by her name. She looked around and found to have no one inside her room. She disregards what she heard and continues looking for clothes to wear but the voice calling her name became louder. It’s as if the one who’s calling her became closer and closer. She looked around but still found no one.
“Who are you?” Out of fear, her body was trembling but still got the courage to ask. She knew somebody was inside her room without her seeing it. She can feel it. “I am not afraid, whoever you are, just show yourself to me.” She managed to open the window more widely and looked down below only to see their garden. There was no one.
“I know you are lonely.” Said the intruder whom Lottie cannot see, nor even hold. Her voice was cold and disconsolate. “I know you missed your mother and I know you are devastated.” Her tone became even colder. “I know you feel miserable.” “I know you feel bad about yourself.” “And I know how badly you are fighting that feeling inside you.” “Ha-ha-ha! I know you, Lottie. Too well.” Her laugh was loud and brittle but emotionless. Lottie can clearly feel it.
Lottie knew that it was nothing ordinary but she didn’t know what exactly was happening. All she was aware of is that somebody has intruded their home, in her room. It took her a lot of time to calm herself and regained her poise.
“I do not know who you are.” Replied Lottie. Her hands and knees were still trembling in fear but she managed to stand up straight and walk towards the mirror. She attempted to close her eyes in hopes that she would find someone when she opens them.
“Please, tell me who you are.” With a begging tone she said.
Hoping for someone to appear inside the room, she prepared herself to whatever and whoever she will see. But in her disappointment, she found no one. She only found herself standing in front of the mirror with those dull and gloomy eyes. She can still feel the intruder’s presence. Yes, she still did. But who was that? How did she know me? How did she know what I am feeling? How did she know it all? All these questions were left hanging and unanswered. Deep down inside her, Lottie knew she needed to find the answers.
It was exactly noon when Lottie’s father and older brother got home. Her father brought some flowers for her and her brother got her some fresh milk. The other three boys were on the town to pick up some eggs and butter. Her father knew she was not the typical girl. Her brothers also knew that their younger sister was special. They all knew Lottie loves solitude and they also knew how she was capable of making connections with whoever she met; may it be a person or animals. But they just knew how aloof she was. They knew how trapped she was in her world and how hesitant she was to open her doors for others.
“Dad! Dad! Is that you?” shouted Lottie as she rushed towards downstairs.
“I’ve got something to tell you.”
“I-I-it’s something extraordinary a-and I know you wouldn’t believe me!” said Lottie as she was catching her breath. Her lips were pale and her face was obviously in fear and panic.
Her father looked at her confused of what was happening to her. He stared at her while trying to make her calm. Her brother, Tommy, patted her back to make her feel calmer and gave her a glass of water.
The two of them were both confused as to what was happening to their precious Lottie while they were outside. Tommy looked around trying to find something wrong inside their house but neither of the things inside was in mess. Everything was still perfectly arranged and in place. Her father took a deep breath and sat down beside her.
“Lottie, darling, tell me. What was going on?” Asked her father as he tried to make her comfortable and calm. He can feel her body shaking in fear. He wanted to know what made Lottie acted that way.
“What was happening while we were away?”
Lottie can still feel the intruder’s presence inside the house. It seemed like it followed her downstairs. She looked at her father’s eyes and she saw the worry in them. She looked at her brother, Tommy, and she saw the curiosity in his eyes. They were waiting for her answer. Waiting to hear what made her terrified.
Then she began to tell them the whole happening. She told them what she heard and everything. She told them she did not saw the intruder but she only heard it. Upon hearing the whole story, her father looked at her with pity and asked her to come with him in the garden. She followed him quietly and sat with him on the bench.
“Lottie, listen to me, okay?” Her father started to explain.
“I know how much pain you are in right now.”
“And I know how much you missed your mom.” He took a deep breath before he continued to talk.
“But keeping yourself inside your walls is not the right thing to do. It’s not the best solution, honey.” He said as he wrapped Lottie in his arms. He knew how much struggle her daughter was fighting and he also knew it was not easy for her. If only he could take away her daughter’s sorrows, he would have done it a long time. But he knew, only Lottie can free herself from the darkness of her world.
Lottie did not understand what her father had said. She didn’t know if he understands her or not. Suddenly her tears rolled down her face. She didn’t understand the situation. She didn’t understand what her father wanted to tell her. At that very moment, she only felt hopeless, misunderstood, worthless, and alone. She felt pity for herself for being strange. For being different. But there was only one thing she wanted to know. Who the intruder was.
Exactly at 8 o’clock in the evening, Lottie was preparing to go to sleep. But before that, there was a plan she had in mind. She wanted to meet the intruder. She closed her windows and turned the lamp on to give her room a little light. The dim light was enough for her to see someone; if there would be that “someone”. She waited for a while for the intruder to talk to her again. She was reading her favorite book while waiting for the “visitor” to come into her room. None of the words she was reading sunk into her mind. She understood neither one of the words she was reading. The thoughts about the intruder were the only thing occupying her mind. Providing convoluted questions that seemed to have obscure answers.
It was 10 o’clock in the evening when she was awakened by the familiar voice. She knew that voice. It was her. The intruder! She quickly stood up from the bed and breathed heavily. She wanted to know who this intruder was. She will not let her fear reign this time. She struggled to hide her fear and forced herself to calm down. She wanted answers to finally clarify her mind.
”Lottie! Lottie!” Called the voice in a mellifluous tone.
“W-W-who are you?” Lottie asked as she made a grasp of the side of her bed. She can feel her heart beating ponderously.
“Why won’t you show yourself to me?”
“I said who are you?” She shouted desperately.
She can feel the cold air inside her room.
“Go in front of the mirror, Lottie.” Directed the voice but this time, the mellifluous voice had now gone. What Lottie can hear was a frigid voice. Cold and unemotional.
“There’s something I have wanted to show you.”
Willingly, Lottie took a step and walked towards the mirror. To her surprised, she saw the crying Lottie in the mirror. She was sobbing hard that watching her made Lottie’s heart shattered into pieces.
“Do you see that, Lottie?” Asked the voice. Referring to Lottie’s reflection in the mirror.
Lottie nodded with full of astonishment. She was confused. Why was her reflection in the mirror crying?
“That was you, Lottie. She was you. I am you.” Said the cold voice.
“I have been waiting for you to come and rescue me and free me from the pain, from drowning. I have been waiting for you to give me the freedom that I needed. To give me pure bliss. I needed you, Lottie. I deserve to find real happiness. But you never gave it to me. You imprisoned me inside these walls. I have always wanted to get out, but you never break the walls for me. I deserve to be happy, Lottie. You deserve to be happy.”
Lottie then realized that the intruder, who once scared her to death, was her own self. Her own self that she used to deprive of happiness and freedom.