I was 26 years old when I first left home. Quite late for such a handsome young man, you would say. I had neither the curiosity nor the courage to leave my only trusted enclosure. Because, you see, I was agoraphobic. I had an uncontrolled fear of public spaces. I had never been to a mall, movie theater or restaurant. I had never been to school. I had never left my home at all in my entire conscious life.
I had private tutors coming to my house and teaching me all there is to know. I didn’t have much else to do, so I was the best pupil to my teachers. By 15 I had already learned enough to get a college degree in computer science.
So I started to program virtual realities. Virtual realities in which I was a normal teenager, in which I could play soccer and rugby outside, and in which I could meet people my age. I had made the people, I had made the scripts, I had made myself. I was God and Adam in the same time. I enjoyed my life terribly.
When I turned 26 though, everything changed. This is the day when I left my life, and became just another soul in this real reality.
That day started just as any other day, with my dog sniffing my shoes and wiggling his tail like crazy, looking forward to his morning walk. He started licking my face and gave one happy bark. “Wake up, old champ” he seemed to be saying.
I woke up, still a little sleepy, trying to become part of the real reality for a moment and start my virtual reality on a clean, teeth-brushed-shower-taken kind of note. Miss Daisy, my dog, was pushing me around, happily anticipating the moment I would put on her cap and let her run around, free of barriers in my virtual reality.
After all the morning chores bound to real reality were done, I put the cap on Miss Daisy’s head, went to get mine, stopped to grab a quick bite, and started the day. I and Miss Daisy went out for a walk. We went up the street, heading for the coffee shop around the corner. Miss Daisy was trying to break free from her leash, quite confused about my grip, as I was holding her tightly. Something was different, and I could feel it. I had not yet met any of my usual friends on my way to the coffee shop. I should have by now met Jeffry and Linda, the couple that just had a baby last month. I am always running into them when I choose to go to the coffee shop. Also, the air seemed different. I did not remember having this feeling of freshness, the air of my life was static, breathable and smelling a little bit of vanilla. Just like my house.
I turned around and saw my house. It was different. It looked worn out and tired. I heard the firefighters on the main street. I looked at Daisy, she was happily wagging her tail, looking at me with her cap on her head. I touched my head. I felt my hair. No cap.
The day I turned 26 years old is the day I have forgotten to put my cap on.