Tilly: Oh, no…it’s…the pleasure’s all mine, Andrew. This is pretty neat, and yes it has been a very long time. What? Little over a year, right?
Me: Tilly, you and I share a very special connection, don’t we?
Tilly: (nods) Yes, yes, I suppose we do, don’t we…
Me: Would you like to let our readers in on that or…?
Tilly: Oh no, I couldn’t. You go ahead. You tell them.
Me: You are the first character, ever, to be brought to life in a novel of mine. You started it all, everything. I used to spend hours sitting, and thinking about you…in a not-so-creepy way. Ha!
Tilly: Ugh…okay…that’s nice. It did come off a little creepy, but I won’t judge you. I suppose it did all start with me, though, didn’t it? Wow, that makes me feel important.
Me: In all seriousness, it’s nice to see you again. It’s been too long.
Tilly: Thank you. You have some questions for me?
Me: Absolutely, we can go ahead and get started. So, for those reading, this that don’t know, why don’t you go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself.
Tilly: (sheepish) Well, My name is Tilly Parker. I worked as a magazine editor. That’s what I went to school for, publishing, but I was recently let go. I…umm…I had to take some time off because of, well…anyway. I took some time off, and I suppose I took too much time? And I didn’t come back in the right mindset, at least that’s what the girl who took my position, that’s what she said. So, I’m really struggling to pick up the pieces from what happened, and then with that on top, it’s…it’s becoming too much.
Me: Do you mind letting us know what happened?
Tilly: (silent) My…um…my husband, Jason. He took his own life a couple weeks ago. I came home from work, and I…I found him in the tub.
Me: Oh, my. I’m so sorry, Tilly.
Tilly: It’s…can we move on to something else?
Me: Absolutely. What is your greatest fear?
Tilly: I guess, I’d say that I’m most afraid of forgetting what Jay, Jason, looks like, that I’ll forget what he sounds like. Sometimes I…no forget it…it’s stupid.
Me: No, go ahead, this is an open forum. No judgment.
Tilly: I’ve been paying his phone bill so they don’t deactivate it. It’s just nice sometimes to call it and hear his voicemail answer. I know how that may sound to you, but just being able to listen to his voice, I still feel connected to him somehow. See, it’s stupid.
Me: I don’t think that’s stupid at all, Tilly. I think that’s actually quite sweet.
Tilly: Thank you. My mom think’s it’s getting out of hand though. She’s been sneaking my phone bills and is checking on how much I call it. It’s a lot.
Me: Okay…let’s move on. On what occasions are you known to tell a lie?
Tilly: When I have to hide something I’m embarrassed of. That’s pretty much the only time I feel the need to lie. There’s something so unnerving about the way someone looks at you when you’ve got something to hide. The worst part is, somehow, it seems the world knows it too, when you’re hiding something, like it can smell it. I feel that way sometimes, that the world is staring at me, and that it knows what I’m doing.
Me: What is your most treasured possession?
Tilly: Um, after Jay’s funeral, I was going through his things in our closet, you know, sorting through his clothes and shoes and such. Anyway, I was down on the closet floor, and I found this lockbox that Jay must have hidden. It wasn’t like him to hide things from me, and I haven’t been able to open it, but right now, that’s my most treasured possession.
Me: Tilly, girl, I think you might be losin’ it.
Tilly: I’m not losing it, and if I am, it’s only ‘cuz you made me this way.
Me: Touche’. Well played, Tilly. Last question, I wanna’ wrap this up. What do you think about when you’re all alone?
Tilly: I think about Jay a lot. We used to go to this café a few blocks from our apartment building, and we’d sit and laugh for hours over muffins and coffee. He had such a sense of humor about him. That’s what really attracted me to him in the first place. I remember that day. It was my first time in the city, and I was standing on a street corner, lost as all get out, and he came up to me because he could tell I looked the part of the lost tourist. He took me to my first interview, and from then on, we became inseparable. Not a moment goes by where I don’t think about him. The more I think about him, though, the angrier I get. It’s such a selfish decision, don’t you think? Jay made a choice, for both of us, on his own. He ruined two lives for the price of one, and I’m having a hard time forgiving him for that. Hopefully, one day I’ll be at peace with it, but I don’t see that happening.
Me: Thanks for coming, Tilly. Very deep stuff, and it was nice to see you again. And, thank you everyone for reading another episode of What About Now?