It wasn’t too late at night when he knocked on the door. He was standing in his familiar hunched posture, barefoot, drenched in summer rain, his eyes drooping with the same old self-mortification. “Come in you poor wretch” I said, shaking my head in dismay.
I can’t say it was a surprise to see Tubby again, because I haven’t noticed his absence in the first place; the poor fellow is too insignificant to be ever described as “present”. I think some of you might have met him few years ago, not that you could’ve possibly noticed him, but I’ve made several references to him a while ago.
I first met Tubby in 2003 in a drama class. He emerged from a cellar in some text book, all shabby and meager-looking. He was so desperate that he jumped right into a back corner in my mind, without even having the courtesy to ask for permission. Anyway, I took pity on him and let him sleep in the barn where I keep the unicorns. In exchange for my kindness, as Tubby likes to call it, he consented to be my imaginary slave, and by slave I mean that he only serves egoistic purposes; for the poor man is too old and sickly to do any real chores. But since the scanty piece of scum, as he describes himself when he’s lucid, lives in a state of constant denial, you might sometimes see him sweeping the floor or mopping the door steps.
I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said Tubby is as paranoid and schizophrenic as anyone can be, but after all, he has a good heart. Most importantly, he fully understands his purpose as an imaginary slave. He knows that I can’t vent all my anger and frustration on real people, it’s not fair. And since he’s not technically a person, he welcomes the humiliation with open arms. He realizes that the adjective “imaginary” gives a new different dimension to the noun “slave”. A real slave has dignity, while the imaginary one thinks of dignity as a disgrace.
So now, trapped somewhere between my ego and superego, resides Tubby under the mercy of my restless human brain. Welcome home Tubby! Now that I realized you were gone, I can truthfully say: Momma’s missed you!
Originally Posted on Monday, July 23, 2007 on http://oeliwat.jeeran.com/archive/2007/7/274632.html