Daniel thought the whole thing was hilarious. Like a metanarrative! Oh my God that’s priceless. Jamie wasn’t impressed. Noah, as usual, was entertained by the prospect, and even said he’d help.
“Sort of like hiding in plain sight,” he’d said when I’d told him my idea. “I like it.”
“I’ll need your help,” I’d said. “There’s a lot I don’t remember.”
“I’ll fill it in for you.”
“You have to tell the truth, though.”
“When have you ever known me to lie?”
“Are you seriously asking me that question?”
“You’re hurting my feelings. I’ve never been anything less than excruciatingly honest. Painfully reliable. Don’t you trust me?”
“Yes,” I’d said honestly. “I do.”
Now I just have to write the thing. How hard could it be?
Noah winds a strand of my hair around his finger and tugs on it, just as I’m about to put one of my earbuds in.
“No one’s going to believe it, you know.”
I do know, but I don’t care. If we had learned anything concrete by now, we had learned this: we weren’t alone. There are others like us out there. People that think they’re just strange or different or troubled or depressed or sick. They might just be. But they might also be something more. They could become one of us. And they should know it before it’s too late.
“The truth should be told, even if no one believes it,” I say. I tilt my head to look up at Noah. “The people who don’t can love it or hate it or not care and forget they’ve ever read it. But maybe someone like us will read it and they’ll know they’re not alone. Or maybe someone not like us will read it but they’ll believe and be warned about people who are.”
Noah indulges me, as always. “So what kind of story will it be?”
A good question. It isn’t horror, even though parts of it are horrifying. It isn’t science fiction because the science and the story are real.
I look at Noah, grinning at me with my head in his lap, his hands in my hair, and I think about him and Jamie and my brothers and my parents. People who would do anything in their power to help me, even if they didn’t always understand me. People I would do anything for, no matter who I had to hurt or what it would cost. I look back at the blank page, then, and know.
This is a love story. Twisted and messy. Flawed and screwed up. But it’s ours. It’s us. I don’t know how our story will end, but I know how it will start. I pick up my pen and begin to write.
My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something.