Following

He followed her everywhere. On Twitter, on the various blogs she’d started over the years, on Facebook and Google Plus. He followed her down the street, into the supermarket and out again, up to her office at work and back down to the parking lot at the end of the day, out to bars where she met dates and was disappointed and then back to her apartment where she went to sleep, often in tears.

He followed her moods, whims and crazes. He followed her progress when she decided to learn French, when she took up violin, when she began to take aerobics classes. He followed her as she gave each up carelessly, pretending the hobbies and skills she tried to acquire meant nothing. He followed her hand as she scratched frantically in her journal, bemoaning her latest failure and wishing to be someone else.

He followed her across the country when she ran away, hoping that a fresh start would make everything different. He followed her dizzy spiral of hope and contentment and its fizzle back down to the familiar low ebb of desperation.

He followed her up the building but held his arm out so she couldn’t jump. He followed her into the bathtub and took away the razor-blade so she couldn’t cut. He followed her into the garage and unplugged the exhaust pipe so she couldn’t suffocate. He followed her gently, quietly, invisibly, a guardian angel in her atheist world, wishing he could tell her how wonderful she was.

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9 thoughts on “Following

  1. blueghoul says:

    That’s both creepy and lovely at the same time. Fantastic, how you balanced that out. Those last few words were definitely a sweet way to end it all, and yet, it began on such an odd, almost bitter note. I like the bit of an odd style you’ve got to it. Each sentence begins the with the same “He followed her” and yet, it’s interesting. It somehow doesn’t feel too repetitive at all. It worked here.

    The one part that sort of hit an almost sour note was the almost supernatural mention of the guardian angel in that atheist world of hers. I do see the point, the contrast to it, though. Ah, but the catch with that is how you could’ve made this so much more sick, so much more vile, if you took out the supernatural mention. It’d twist into the sort of story that’s intriguing in its bitterness, in how just plain creepy it was. And yet how his love was so childishly sweet.

    But, um, all in all, I liked this one quite a lot.

    • Thank you very much for the constructive criticism! I actually didn’t intend the “supernatural” element to be taken literally. I kind of thought it was clear that he wasn’t necessarily a guardian angel at all. I mean, he could be, but he could also be just a creepy stalker. I really hadn’t decided what he was; I wanted to leave it to the reader to decide. But maybe it comes off as too literal. I’ll take another look at it in the morning and see.

      Thanks again :).

      • blueghoul says:

        Anytime! I can definitely see now how it was just one of his own thoughts, that he was just a plain, creepy stalker. I sort of tend to take too many things literally. Heh. I think it’s mostly the first sentence of the last paragraph that made me think that. She would’ve seen him hold out his arm to stop him, but if he was a guardian angel, that could’ve happened without her noticing him at all. But now that I read it again…it’s definitely implied that he’s just a creepy stalker. I think I just misunderstood.

  2. Chloe [Photographer] says:

    i agree it’s a little on the creepy side but at the end i did like it
    he was protecting her

    i know a girl who moved overseas to ‘run away from her life’ .. don’t honestly think it’s working for her or a solution, but she’ll figure that out her self

  3. I loved it Ilana. I couldn’t tell where you were going with it but you had such a perfect ending to it. It almost gave me the shivers.

  4. Erin M says:

    Damn, I wish I’d written that! ^_^

    Such a gorgeous piece. (And I like the creepiness. And I kind of interpreted it differently, but that might be because I’m crazy.)

    Just a teensy suggestion for when you look at it again, how about “he followed her {as her} dizzy spiral of hope and contentment fizzle{d}” or “he followed her dizzy spiral of hope and contentment {as it} fizzle{d}”? Just seems to be a word or two missing to complete the structure.

    Again: Loved it. So much.

    • (Don’t worry – it was meant to be interpreted, and I actually have my own person meaning to this piece that I don’t know if anyone except my mom picked up on, so whatever you thought it meant, I’m glad of it.)

      Thank you for the suggestions! Definitely made a mistake in that sentence and messed up the structure – you’re absolutely right. Fixing it right now.

      And I’m glad you enjoyed, my dear!

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