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On my way back to the hostel, I stop at not one but two gelato shops, intent on sampling every flavor of gelato before I leave Italy. The treat is icy, incredibly creamy, with flavors like Cinnamon-Cappuccino and Pomegranate that explode in my mouth. I’ve never tasted anything so delicious. Surely if a three-hour dinner was a spiritual experience, then eating gelato three times a day should be transcending, I reason.
After dropping my backpack in my room, I head down to the coffee shop yet again to relax, read, and journal for a couple of hours. I am enjoying my little-piece-of-heaven-in-a-coffee-cup, when I look up to see Mario standing next to me, smiling.
“Hi beautiful,” he says with a huge grin. “I was on my way to the shop, and saw you sitting here.”
We hug, and I realize I am actually really glad to see him. I like Mario. He is a good guy. We sit and chat for a few minutes, as I tell him about my day at Boboli Gardens.
“Okay, Mia Bella, I must go,” Mario says, pretending to frown, although his eyes are still sparkling. “But I look forward to dinner tonight.”
He kisses me on both cheeks and disappears.
I have a hard time focusing on my reading and writing after that, so I just sit watching Florence go by, lost in thought. I am enjoying this “connection” that is happening with Mario. I’m on this journey to heal and find myself, and I didn’t plan on getting into any sort of relationship. However, I choose to follow my heart, which at the moment is looking forward to dinner tonight.
Mario is waiting for me again when I make my way down to the lobby of the hostel a few hours later.
“Hi beautiful,” he exclaims, which has become his customary greeting. He hugs me and kisses me on both cheeks.
“I am taking you to a wonderful Chinese place tonight!”
“Chinese? Really? I didn’t know you had Chinese restaurants in Florence, Italy.”
“Of course we do,” he says, laughing. “And it’s really good. Trust me.”
He takes my hand and guides me through a maze of streets and alleys to a dark, quaint Chinese restaurant. The food is delicious. This time, thankfully, it is just the two of us.
We talk about politics, life in America versus Italy, religion, God, and our families. I share more details about my painful marriage, the difficult year of caring for my sick parents, and their deaths.
As we stand up to leave, Mario touches my cheek gently and whispers, “Sara, you are beautiful, inside and out.”
He kisses me on the cheek and says, “Come on, let’s go. I want to take you for a ride on my scooter.”
We walk back to the hostel, where his scooter is parked. He straps his helmet on me, jumps on, and pats the seat behind him. I climb on, wrapping my arms tightly around his waist.
“Ready?” he asks. “Hold on tight!”
Mario whisks me away on a moonlit tour of Florence. It is wonderful, magical, and exhilarating. We stop at his favorite gelato shop. He points out sights for me. Eventually, we park at the highest point in the city and look at the beautiful lights spread out below, sharing a kiss.
I find myself sighing throughout the night, again and again. Not just because of Mario, not because I am falling in love, or infatuated, but because of the entire experience. The moonlight, the city, the food, the gelato, the people, the scooter ride, the freedom I feel in my spirit, the closeness I feel to God, and the beauty of being alive. As much as I enjoy Mario, I realize I am enamored more with the experience and what is happening inside of me than the man himself.
Mario takes my face in his hands, gazes into my eyes, and whispers softly, “Sara, you are one of the most amazing women I’ve ever met. I don’t want you to leave. Stay with me in Florence.”
I protest, and tell him I have plans to head south to Amalfi and Positano. and I also plan to explore the island of Capri. He knows I am in Florence for only a couple of days. I told him that yesterday.
“Sara, I will take you to Capri. We’ll take a boat over and spend the whole weekend there. Please stay.”
“But Mario, it’s not just about Capri. I’m heading back to America in a week.”
“Sara, please stay. We’ll figure it out. You can come with me to New York later this year.”
Wow, he is thinking that far out? Like a more permanent type of thing.
“Please, Sara. Stay.”
“I’ll think about it,” I reply, because I don’t know what else to say.
On the way back to the hostel, Mario stops at his apartment and runs upstairs to get something. He comes back down with a big grin on his face and hands me a soccer jersey.
“This is my favorite football jersey and I wear it all the time. I want you to have it.”
“Thank you.” Again, I am at a loss for words. He is giving me a piece of himself, something that he loves.
Mario takes me back to the hostel, promising he’ll come by in the morning to take me to breakfast.
He kisses me gently, whispering in my ear, “Ciao mia bella.”
I sit once more by the open window in my room, basking in the moonlight, lost in thought. Why did this happen? Why did I meet Mario? I am enjoying his company immensely, but things are moving way too fast. He seems so enamored with me, and I am not feeling the same way. Something is happening inside of me though – a spiritual awakening of some sort, connecting with God in a new way. I am tapping into adventure and romance and excitement. It is something my soul needs desperately and hasn’t experienced for so long. I spent the six months prior to this trip grieving the loss of my parents. Before that it was a year in and out of hospitals and one traumatic emergency after another. Just before that, I separated from my husband. And then there were all those years of drinking heavily and partying, a lonely marriage, and desperate unhappiness. I was so far away from God for so long.
Now here I am experiencing freedom, adventure, romance, and a tangible earthy presence of God. I am overwhelmed with gratitude. My spirit feels raw, vulnerable, and open in a way I’ve never before experienced. I desperately want to continue this journey of discovery. I know that staying here and spending more time with Mario is not a part of that journey. My decision is made. I must leave.
I check the train schedules for the next morning and set my alarm for five a.m. I wake with a start to the incessant beeping of my travel alarm. I stuff my belongings into my backpack, then sit down with my English to Italian pocket translation, and write out a short note to Maria, Mario’s aunt, who speaks and reads only Italian. The note reads (hopefully)...
Please give this letter and jersey to Mario for me.
I carefully fold the soccer jersey and place it on the bed. On top of the jersey I set the note to Maria with a folded letter (in English) I had written to Mario the night before.
I close the door to my room, drop the keys off at the front desk, and slip out the front door. I catch an early train, heading south, to Salerno. I feel regret for what might have been. I imagine Mario reading the letter, and feel sad for the pain the words are likely to cause.
I can’t go with you to Capri and I can’t stay in Florence. I’m sorry. I came to Europe to find myself. To begin a process of healing from the painful losses and hurts which have been my life over the past few years. And that MUST be my focus. I can’t get side tracked by a relationship.
You are wonderful, Mario. Truly. You are sweet and kind. You have a huge heart and a bigger smile, and a twinkle in your eye. You’re a big kid with a zest for life. And I love that about you.
But I sense you are falling for me. And I also know, with all my heart, that I would only bring you pain. I’m just not in a place right now where I can be in a relationship. And so it is easier for us to end this now than to make it more painful for us both later. Because I know I will return to America when my month of travel is over.
Forgive me for not saying goodbye in person, but I was afraid that when I saw your big smile and looked into your eyes, you would talk me into staying. And I know that’s not the right thing for me at this point in my life.
I wish you much love and much happiness.
Thank you for the sweet memories,
As the train speeds south, I think back to the last six months of my mom and dad’s lives. The loss is still so raw, so painful…
It is my responsibility to watch the kids before the ceremony and during the reception. Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe are wearing matching white dresses, with puffy sleeves, and a full, mid-calf length skirt. The beautiful garments are romantic and princess-like, and remind me of the dresses worn by the flower girls in Princess Diana’s wedding a decade ago. Each girl wears a circular headpiece of white and pink flowers. Little Robert sports a mini black tuxedo and perfectly shined black shoes.
As I observe them and interact with them, I realize they each have unique and distinct personalities.
Kourtney, who just celebrated her twelfth birthday, is a serious child, and always speaks her mind. She is definitely the leader. She seems unhappy and acts distant towards me all day. I wonder what is going on with her.
Kim looks gorgeous. Even as a ten-year old child, she is stunning. She seems a bit on the quiet side but is sweet and friendly towards me.
Khloe is a pistol. Full of energy, with a long, thick mane of curly hair. She and Robert run all over the grounds of the mansion. Here it is my first day, and I envision having to explain to my new boss, Kris, why her daughter has a ripped dress with grass stains before the ceremony and pictures.
Little Robert is mostly sweet and precious, but he is a four year-old boy and has moments of mischievousness. He reminds me so much of “Charlie” from the movie The Santa Claus with Tim Allen. He has the same round “bowl” haircut, big brown eyes, and a sweet smile.
As the kids take their place (dresses and tuxedo intact and clean), and the ceremony begins, I sit in a back row, as questions and thoughts swirl through my mind. Will the kids like me? Can I handle four? Will Kris be a good boss? Can I manage being a nanny, attending school full-time, and working at Gladstones? I hope I am up to the task. I hope I’ve made the right decision.
As the reception winds down, I drive my four new charges home. What a huge and significant event for my initial day of work with my new family. I think to myself that it is appropriate that I get to share their “new beginning” with them.
However, it is a lot of adjusting for everyone. New marriage, new step kids, the blending of three different sets of kids, and a new nanny. It is a lot for everyone to acclimate to and process.
I feel somewhat lost. After several years, I had a well-established routine with Brandon and Brody. They knew my boundaries and rules, and what was negotiable and what wasn’t. Now, I am starting all over with four kids. It is not just double the work. It's more like quadruple the work.
I’m also dealing with the transition from boys who don’t care what they have on, what they look like, or if they get dirty, to three girls who are concerned with clothes, hair, and girly things. My tomboy background suited me well with Brandon and Brody. I was used to fishing, soccer,
baseball, rough housing, and running around. It was more physical exertion. Now, I must put a lot more effort into emotional connections. Thank goodness I have little Robert who keeps me grounded.
I feel overwhelmed for the first few days. I am still acclimating to a new house, a new room, and a new bed, not to mention five new personalities. I’m thankful for Bruce’s presence. For a while, though, I feel like a visitor.
Bruce and Kris recently purchased the Malibu home we all now share. There is a long sidewalk leading up to the front door, which opens into a spacious, bright, open foyer. The living room is straight ahead with floor to ceiling glass, offering a brilliant view of the ocean. The back yard, which is beautifully manicured, has a huge pool, a jacuzzi, and patio furniture that I’d love to sink into for a catnap in the sun (if I ever had the time). The marble floor in the foyer leads to a huge kitchen opening to a spacious family room. The home is warm, comfortable, tastefully decorated in a casual way. Not too pretentious or ostentatious.
I am thrilled to find out that Sean Penn used to own the house during the time when he was dating Madonna. As I walk through the house, I feel reverent. I'm treading upon the same floors that were likely once graced by a music icon. When I’m home alone, I sing “Like a Prayer” and dance through the halls, wondering to myself if Madonna sang the same words to Sean right here in this house.
Bruce and Kris delay their honeymoon, but as a newlywed, Kris has many other things on her mind besides training me, which I completely understand. I am on my own for the first few days, so I wing it as best I can. Thankfully, a few days later, Kris makes time to go over my role, responsibilities, rules, and expectations. I make it clear to Kris that the most important priority in my life is school. We agree on a schedule that will work around my school commitments.
“Oh and I’ll need you to cook dinner for us most nights. When Bruce and I are around, plan for ten,” Kris adds, which sends shivers done my spine. The only “cooking” I’ve done up until now was mainly for the boys. Simple kid food like Hamburger Helper, mac and cheese, hot dogs, and heating up food in the microwave.
Back in junior high school, I took a class called Home Economics, where Mrs. Oachs taught us how to be excellent housewives, but I never seemed able to get the hang of it. I burned the butterscotch pudding, made a cake that was flat as a pancake, and squeaked out a decent grade only because the cute yellow and white striped sundress I sewed was actually wearable, even though it had some crooked seams. That early experience haunts me. I guess I actually have a fear of failure when it comes to cooking.
“Kris, I hate to tell you this, but I don’t really know how to cook,” I say quietly, not sure how she will respond.
“What do you mean, you don’t know how?” she asks, looking at me incredulously.
“Well, I can make mac and cheese, hamburger helper, hot dogs, fix lunches, heat up microwave meals, but I’m not like a chef or anything. I don’t really know how to prepare gourmet meals.” I’m talking quickly, nervous that she will be upset.
“Oh that’s no problem,” she says with a wave of her hand. “It doesn’t have to be gourmet. I’ll teach you some easy dishes.”
And she does. We start with her favorite recipe, Pasta Primavera. She works with me in the kitchen, explaining each step. A few nights later, she shows me how to make barbeque chicken, baked potatoes, garlic cheese bread, and a mixed green salad with veggies. Before long, I have a whole repertoire of dishes: pasta with fresh tomato sauce and basil, noodles with broccoli and olive oil, homemade tacos, roasted chicken with vegetables, and spaghetti with meatballs.
Over the course of the next couple weeks, I develop a routine. My alarm goes off about five o’ clock each morning. Crawling out of bed still half asleep, I shuffle into the kitchen in my pajamas and get the Starbucks Breakfast Blend brewing in the coffee maker. Kris asked me on my first day to prepare a tray with cups, cream and sugar, and a steaming carafe of coffee to leave outside their bedroom door each morning. I consider buying a hotel maid’s outfit and getting one of those little signs you hang on the doorknob, so they can notify me when they need assistance or don’t want to be disturbed. I think it would be funny, but they might not find it too amusing, so I drop the idea.
My “breakfast” is usually a cup of the Starbucks coffee and three or four vanilla sandwich cookies (one of the kids’ favorites). I’m always running late and trying to get ten things done at once, so I don’t have time to sit down and eat. We often keep fresh baked muffins in the kitchen, and occasionally I quickly grab the muffin top off to eat for my breakfast. This aggravates Bruce tremendously.
“Who took the muffin top?” I hear him yell from the kitchen. “Pam!”
Once I awaken all four kids, I then make sure the younger two are dressed. Kourtney and Kim wear uniforms (thank goodness or I can imagine we’d have a lot more drama in the mornings) and are independent enough to get themselves dressed, so I don’t have to worry about that. I just need to make sure they are awake.
I help Khloe and Robert get something for breakfast, usually dry cereal, a muffin and fruit, or a bagel and cream cheese. While they eat breakfast, I pack their lunches. No two lunches are the same, as they each have “favorites” and certain things they dislike. I usually pack a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a bag of chips, a juice box, and cookies. Khloe and Robert love Oreos, and Kourtney and Kim prefer the vanilla sandwich cookies. Next, I spend a few minutes going over the “to do” list for the day with Kris, who awakens early but spends the morning getting herself ready.
Kourtney and Kim spend all their time in the morning getting ready and usually grab something quick for breakfast on the way out the door, a muffin or a breakfast bar. Sometimes, they grab a bag of dry cereal and eat it in the car on the way to school. All five of us pile into the car, and we’re on our way.
The three different schools they attend are not close in proximity. Although we live in Malibu, Kourtney and Kim attend a private school in Beverly Hills. After chauffeuring the older girls, I head back to Malibu to take Khloe to Kindergarten and Robert to preschool. Taking the four kids to their three different schools takes about an hour. Racing back to the house to drop off the car, I sprint up seven or eight flights of stairs at the University to try and make it to class on time. More often than not, I am late.
At noon every day, I leave Pepperdine, pick up the car, drive to the preschool and pick up Robert, drop him at home with the maid, and head back to class for the afternoon. When I finish my classes for the day, I get Robert and the car from the house, drive to Khloe’s elementary school and scoop her up, and then drive back to Beverly Hills to pick up Kourtney and Kim at private school. Usually, Kris has given me a few errands to take care of before finally heading home.
My nanny job ends when the kids go to bed, which is about nine o’clock for Khloe and Robert, and around ten o’clock for Kourtney and Kim. But my day is not yet over. Exhausted as I may be since starting the day at five a.m., it is time to study. More often than not, I fall asleep with my head buried in a book. I’m surprised I get decent grades at Pepperdine, as little as I study.
My room at the Kardashian home used to be a storage room and pantry. It is about eight feet wide and ten feet long. The full sized bed fills most of the room with only about two feet on the edge of the bed. The room doesn’t have a closet (it is a closet) or a desk, just a tiny little nightstand. It doesn’t bother me though. I am rarely in my room, except for late at night. It is a place to study and sleep. Mostly sleep.
My list of duties also includes personal shopper. Once a week, usually on the weekend, I make a trip to the grocery store, and fill up two shopping carts full of food. Kris has a list of regular items that I am to purchase each week. In addition, I usually make one or two additional runs to the store during the week for special items or to stock up if we run out of a staple item.
After a disagreement one day over a missing item from the grocery list — broccoli — the tension in the room is so thick you can almost see it. I think to myself, Oh my gosh, what have I done? Why am I here? This lady really doesn’t like me. During my conservative Midwest upbringing with a prim and proper mother, I’d never heard a lady talk to me the way she just did. I am quite certain I’ve made a huge mistake in coming to work for Kris and mentally start packing my bags. However, I have four kids who are depending on me, and it is important for me to be a stable force in their lives. I resolve not to let Kris get to me. But given the way Kris has just reacted about something as seemingly non-important as broccoli, I decide that isn’t realistic, so for the time being I settle on not quitting...yet.
The next day, Kris apologizes. I think. If you can call it an apology.
“Are you mad at me, Pam? Wouldn’t you rather I speak my mind and be done with it? Or would you rather have me act like nothing is wrong, when there is something wrong?”
I don’t know how to respond. In her mind, her actions are completely rational. To me, her response to the “missing broccoli” is utterly irrational.
I am beginning to realize that Kris says what is on her mind in the moment that it happens. Whatever she is feeling, she communicates it — good, bad, or ugly. She is a perfectionist, very detail oriented, and has high expectations. She doesn’t hold back.
I must admit, though, it is probably better for her to vent rather than feel the retribution of resentment later. Nevertheless, these moments when she “speaks her mind” can be tough to take. I am an emotional person, and I’m still just a kid.
I feel like I am trying so hard all of the time, and she doesn’t recognize my effort. She points out the failures but doesn’t compliment the good things I am doing.
Along with my nanny duties, I am also Kris’s “personal assistant,” which means taking care of all the errands and tasks it takes to run a household so she can focus on business projects for Bruce and herself.
I never know each day what I will be doing or where I will be going, only that I have to get everything on my “to do” list done. Which amounts to a great deal of pressure, considering I also have four kids to take care of, a full schedule of college courses, and a second job. Thank goodness I am young and have a lot of energy. Even so, I’m sure I am single-handedly increasing the stock price of Starbucks with all the coffee I drink.
Despite how challenging it is at times to be working for Kris, there are many things I admire about her. I have never before been around such a driven and savvy businesswoman. I look up to her and learn a lot from her. Growing up in a small town in a rural area, I had not been exposed to any strong businesswomen as role models, so it is quite amazing to watch Kris in action. When she puts her mind to something, she does not stop until she has accomplished what she set out to do. She is tenacious and does not take “no” for an answer. I’m not used to working for someone who sets the bar so high — for herself and for me. There are occasions I end up in tears.
Maybe she thinks I don’t take her list seriously, which is not the case. I feel anxiety during the day as unforeseen obstacles like traffic interfere. I’m a people pleaser, and when I fail, it really bothers me.
It is becoming clear to me that life in this home is going to be busy, fun, and exciting, with never a dull moment, but also extremely challenging at times.
Because Bruce and Kris travel so much, they need someone at home to watch the kids and manage the household. I realize, as their nanny, I am not just a caretaker, but I am also a surrogate mom in a way. I fell in love with these kids very quickly, and I now love them as if they are my own. I assume, and hope, that’s what Kris wants.
I allow myself to feel like a member of the family, because for the most part, Bruce and Kris treat me as such. There are times, however, when I have to remind myself that I am not a family member. I am paid (and paid well) to do this job. It is a strange dichotomy, this nanny thing. Live with the family full time, love the kids, pour yourself into them, spend every spare moment of your life taking care of them and their needs, but don’t forget, when it comes down to it, you’re just the nanny. Allowing my emotions to become too invested or expecting to be treated as an equal member of the family would most assuredly end in hurt feelings, so I attempt to keep my status and position in the forefront of my mind.
I reflect on the list of rules I wrote on the bus a couple of years ago, as I was about to meet Linda Jenner. I assumed that if I stuck to this list, I would be successful, my employers would be happy with me, and the kids would be content and well behaved.
After my first few months at the Kardashian home, I have one more rule to add to the top of that list.
1. Do not EVER forget the broccoli.
I must push through. Survive. Find meaning and purpose through this situation. Maybe once I get out of solitary, things will get better. I need to remember solitary is only temporary. Prison is only temporary. I will be out sometime soon, hopefully within a year or two. I must maintain focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. I must keep hope alive. But the seclusion in this lifeless, bleak cage makes it hard to hope. It’s nearly impossible to imagine life and happiness beyond these four walls. The isolation, the lack of human contact, and the endless hours of nothingness have done a number on my psyche.
I’ve realized during the past week the one thing I hate more than very loud noises is deafening silence. Throughout my days in confinement, I hear nothing. Nothing but bone chilling, soul crushing silence. I also can't see anything except what's in my cell and a small patch of floor in the hallway, which is not a big deal. I can handle that. But, the silence. It’s the absence of sound that will drive a person crazy.
Nighttime, however, is a different story. When my tiny window’s soft glow of light dims, the shadows grow longer, the darkness deepens, and the despair and private demons all bubble to the surface. Screams pierce the quiet and dark. Loud voices carry on conversations with invisible friends, unknown enemies, God and ghosts. I often lie awake on my cold, hard slab, trying to cover my ears with the cardboard blanket, which only slightly muffles the haunting voices. It feels as though I’m in a movie, living a psychological thriller in real life. I wish I could hit pause…or better yet, fast forward.
With the lack of contact from family, it’s hard not to worry. I question whether they are even concerned about me. Is anyone calling and trying to find out what happened to me? I know my girlfriend planned to attend a wedding this week. Is she thinking about me? Insecurities and fears churn round and round in my head, and with nowhere to go, they inevitably spiral down, swirling, dark and hopeless.
Will my girlfriend stick around? If she does, is it because of love…or guilt? Are we meant to be together? Maybe it would be easier if I push her away and not drag her through this. Maybe I’m better off alone.
In solitary confinement, we are allowed out of our cell for two reasons only. First, each inmate gets thirty minutes outside in the exercise yard every day. It is a twenty-foot by twenty-foot courtyard with twenty-foot high cement walls topped with barbed wire. There is not a lick of exercise equipment. It is November here, so it’s very cold outside. I went out only once during my first few days in solitary. I was wearing my prison uniform, which is essentially bright orange surgical scrubs with matching flip flops. No coat, no hat, no gloves. Not exactly an excursion to look forward to. I never bothered to go outside again.
We also get a hall pass for a shower every two or three days. The shower is about thirty feet from my cell, down a concrete hallway. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. Despite this, I still have to be shackled, with one chain going from my wrists to my waist, and another chain from my waist to my ankles. Once I enter the shower, which is a steel cage, I stick my hands through the bars so they can unshackle me. I’m then locked inside and allowed only ten minutes to finish my shower. I have to stick my hands back through the bars to be shackled again and then escorted back to my cell.
After my first shower a few days into my stay in solitary, I return to my cell to find a Bible lying on my bed. I don't know how it got there. No guard or chaplain ever admits placing it there. I am so thankful for something to read. For the first time in my life, I read the entire Bible front to back. I can’t say that the heavens part or God speaks to me. However, it is the beginning of a new spiritual journey for me. I glean some key truths about God and relationship with Him that will carry me through the many long days to come in prison. God and I meet for the first in that tiny little cell. I’ve known Him for years, but had a distant relationship. Something has now shifted. He’s become my friend.
My initial conversations with God go something like this…
“Why, God? What on earth did I do to deserve this? I’ve been helping people my entire life, so why is this happening to me? Why? Why? Why?”
I try to keep my mind busy. Every day, I read my Bible, meditate, and pray. I practice yoga, do some Taekwondo moves, and pace around the cell. Whatever it takes to break up the monotony. There is no stimulation in this hell hole. It’s up to me to somehow keep my mind busy…or go crazy.
I am allowed to have a pencil. A pencil nub, to be precise. It's approximately two inches in length, which makes it hard to grasp and even harder to write. They won't give us a longer pencil for fear someone will surely make a shank out of it. I’m thankful for the tiny pencil stub, as it allows me to keep a journal. I write notes here and there on scraps of paper I’ve gathered.
11/6/17 - Solitary confinement is very hard on my psyche. There's no one to see or talk to, only the banging doors and the screams of other inmates. I laid on my cell floor today for what seemed like hours just blowing lint balls around while watching them float. You have to do anything you can to keep your mind busy or you'll go insane. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It's like rings and knots of joy and grief, all interacting and locking. I do not write in this journal every day because there is literally nothing to write about. You fear for your life EVERY second of EVERY minute of EVERY hour of EVERY day.
I've never been so bored, nor have I ever missed human companionship so desperately. I think it's eating away at my brain. Today, I made up a game I played for the longest time. I placed my kevlar blanket on the floor, pretending it was a rug in my living room. I then imagine someone knocking at the door. I stand up and invite them into my home. “Welcome,” I exclaim. I ask my guests to remove their shoes, of course, so they don't step on my new carpet (which is just my kevlar blanket). I offer coffee or tea if I’m playing my game during the daytime. If it's an evening visit, perhaps I offer a glass of wine. My guests and I share lively stories about our childhoods, laughing and joking about the good ole days. When it’s time to leave, the guests puts their shoes back on and head out the door, as I call “Goodbye, see you again soon!” I've played this make believe game with many different people. They are fictitious people, but in my mind I give them a name and a face of someone I know. That way, I can take events I remember from the actual lives of people to more easily create stories and conversations.
I'm slowly, but surely, going insane.