I follow my sister Lisa around like a shadow. She walks out the door; I turn off the light, the stereo. I hate to waste electricity. I follow my mom around too. She leaves a cupboard open, I close the door. Open cupboard doors are a recipe for disaster. When alone, I check the stove, make sure it is off. I am petrified of fire.
I check the locks on the door, lock-unlock, lock-unlock ten times. On a good day. On a bad day, the sets of ten go higher. I glance at the burglar alarm to ensure it is on, ten glances. Again, on a good day. I don’t want someone to kidnap me. Prevention is worth all this work and energy that my mind expends. A sinful thought, quick! Think something good, I don’t know what. After all these years the transformation is so automatic I can’t remember.
When I leave a room, I check the light, flip off-on, off-on, ten times. The same good day/bad day rule. Everything in its place. After my mom dusts, I place everything back in its proper place. Not a knick-knack a millimeter out of order. Throw off the sheets every night; make sure there are no insects lurking in there, waiting to terrorize me in my slumber. All my books in neat stacks, all my clothes neatly folded. Not a typical kid’s room, nor a teenager’s.
I have an aversion to fuzz, string, yarn, and lint. If I see it, I feel nauseous. I have to rid my sight of it. I pick it up and throw it somewhere I can’t see it. Out of sight, out of mind. I have to yell, scream, or make peculiar noises to rid my mind of the sight. I don’t like odd numbers, everything in evens, please. Toiletries must be oriented to the front, nothing touching. Bathroom linens hanging on a rack must be straight, not a smidgen crooked.
No one knows this shameful secret. I can’t let anyone know I am crazy. Looney. Going mad. My silence protects me. No one sees what I do, no one hears.