I had heard a story when I was a child. a story, not so much to ponder over, but I was pretty much changed by it. it had a woman in it who was always walking. as the story progress, it claims that no one has ever seen her face. no one has seen how she looks from the front. they only know it’s a woman who just walks. she wore, they said, a black blazer and a grey knee-length skirt. she wore stockings and black heels. her hairs are shoulder length and can be imagined flowing back forth as she walks and wind plays with them. a normal woman she is, many will say but she was not. you could not hear her heels friction with the ground. there was no sound one could hear. you could not walk faster than her to see a face. she has to be walking in front of you otherwise, they say, your face will disappear. I am talking about a face with no features and plain skin-colored canvas. you couldn’t any wonder see her face either way.
why am I telling you this? it sounds ridiculous and hypothetical. I wish I could think about it this way and believe me, I tried at first. I moved into a new apartment about a month ago. it was just a normal apartment with a large room for a hall and kitchen and two bedrooms. everything was alright. I was going to my office every day. I was doing my laundry, making my food, doing some workout, and greet whomsoever I would meet in the hallway or at the elevator. it was nice to be neighborly. everything was going great until this woman wanted to be my room mate. I met her in the library when I was searching for some self-help books. she was extremely friendly and we started to date quickly. everything was happening at light’s speed. it was hard to keep track of time with her. I am sure I fell in love. I am sure we had a great time but I can barely remember the details. all I can remember was the woman waking up by my bed every day and gently caressing my hair with a certain kind of greed in her eyes. it was weird to see the greed but I kept my questions deep underneath.
there was something weird about her. she was just a normal woman to other people. they used to say I am trying to mess the relationship some way or another. I used to love her from my conscious and subconscious mind. she was everything for me. I remember I even asked her to marry me but she politely refused yet I was living with her just a wall apart. there was nothing different about her. it was the way of her clothing, I tried to consider. the way she wears clothes was something to do with the constant fear arousing in me. a certain kind of creep growing in me. constantly, I was pulled towards her despite my mind was screaming from the inside run while you still can. run fast and far and never return. forget about her and live a normal life. find a normal woman. she is by all rights, not normal. just run.
I realized that it had been more than three years of living with her and I couldn’t remember a single detail that I can tell you. it was like a blank noise coming from blank record. my beard was not shaved and my hairs were growing around shoulder length. I could not even recognize myself in the mirror. it was horrifying to see someone who isn’t me at my place. I went to the kitchen and found her by the kitchen counter making some pancakes. she slightly lifted her eyes and smiled softly. it was horrifying that I couldn’t remember what happened in the last three years. the fear I was feeling was now slightly becoming distant as if a blurring shadow in a dark corner threatening to merge with dark. it was becoming nothing just like all my memories. I shook myself and shaved. I cut my hairs to a reasonable size where I started to recognize myself, had a bath and wore a blue shirt. I found myself forgetting about that already. a distant memory and maybe nothing at all. I didn’t say anything to her and opened the door. I remembered these people and for the first time, I was sure. everyone was acting weird around me. some were stopping to gaze at me and somewhere not even looking at me as if I am invisible. a man was calling on his cell phone. I looked back and I saw planks boarded with nails on my door. it was easier to open from inside but no one could get inside, I considered.
why they would lock me, I was wondering. I heard footsteps and I was forced to lay still on the ground while a giant rifle was pointed at my head. he was shouting in a language I could not comprehend. I tried to say
“I did nothing. please, this is a misunderstanding.”
but none of this seemed to work and who I was to say something like this when I couldn’t even remember what I was doing a minute ago. the man tightened the grip on my neck and sat on me as I finished saying that same sentence dozens of times as if I was reciting it to tell myself I was innocent and this was a misunderstanding. when there were enough cops, they forced me to stand up. everyone was staring at me while I was busy trying to comprehend what was happening. I opened to door as one of the cops was holding my neck and others were giving me the dirtiest looks. there was blood I saw splattered on walls, near windows, near the door and the river of dried blood coming from a room, I suppose, where my fearful roommate used to live. I was surprised to see this blood bath in my house. it wasn’t like this when I was inside of it or maybe I don’t remember it anymore. maybe I am just pretending to forget and I remember everything but what explains the dilemma of configuring whether it’s my apartment or not. I was forced to walk towards the door where the dried blood had originated. every step I was taking, the weird fear was making me cripple and I was limping. my mind was constantly repeating run or your face will disappear.
I surrendered myself because I didn’t want to open the door to see something really horrible I would never even dream of doing. we walked down the stairs with all the guns tensed at my head.
one of them said,
“why don’t we just shoot him here? he shouldn’t be even alive, right?”
“labor is worse than death. let him die while he is hard laboring.” one of them said with consideration.
it came again run or your face will disappear, and after sometimes when I was already forgetting their conversation, run or all of their faces will disappear.
there was a door leading outside. I saw her. black blazer and grey skirt. a woman on verge of turning towards me. I so deadly wanted to see the face that I grabbed one of the riffles from the cop that was holding me and shoot everyone. I ran towards her with a rifle in one hand and bloody clothes. I was shooting everyone trying to capture me. she began to walk faster and I followed her patiently. soon we were in a clear area and she abruptly stopped. I thought she would turn but didn’t. she stood there half turned to me. the hairs were flowing softly from her face. the riffle was almost empty. I decided to shoot myself and then my mind translated it as I decided to shoot him. I buried the rifle and started walking towards her. he told himself when he will come to senses again he would come here and shoot. I am sorry he means me. I walked towards her careful not to exceed her pace. I was still afraid of her but something was pulling me towards her.
I walked like that for days, weeks, months and I have now lost her. I got a job at a library and as I was clearing some books. she would be just at a distance, just enough for me to notice. I never looked at her. after living my life on the streets and begging for food, I had enough of her. when I stopped following her, she came for me after some months. her face on verge of turning as if she was walking backward to me. I sat there in the empty section of the library while she turned and sat on the next chair as I was making a list of books. her face I saw wasn’t really a face at all but a smooth skin canvas. the hairs I saw were pinned to the left side. she was looking like a mannequin but alive and without features. if she smiled, I would never know. if she was looking at me, I would never know. she got up and her skin started to leave its grip. it was blood everywhere. I called cops and waited patiently. I saw the blood slowly fading away. she was gone and after some time so was the blood. there was nothing to show the cops.
I am telling you this because the blood in my apartment did not disappear like this. I am not sure whether I did it or not. I am telling you this because if I became like her one day and some child would hear a story of a man always walking and claiming no one has ever seen my face. please tell him to stop imagining things. I am telling you if I am to be gone like the woman one day, don’t fear the woman the would follow me. she is innocent because she doesn’t remember killing me. I am telling you because I want this to stop at me. if I am to be gone, then at least one person, you, my lover, my roommate need to know that I was just a normal person and why I disappeared abruptly or gone or dead or all three.