I escaped into my own world during my mother’s second marriage. I was Agent 179, working for the government in order to find evidence that her husband should be arrested. I had no proof yet, but the safety of my family, and of the rest of the world’s population, weighed heavily on my shoulders. My mission was clear: charge the felon with crimes against humanity (or at least crimes against me and my family).
I planted bugs on his shirts and recorded all of his conversations. Hidden behind corners and under tables, I carefully and stealthily observed his every move, taking diligent notes on scraps of paper, napkins, newspapers, and anything else I could secretly write on. One slip-up was all I needed, was what I impatiently waited for each day, and once he finally did mess up, that would be the end.
Months passed and my secret briefcase hidden behind a loose tile in my bathroom still contained nothing. The overflowing loose pages and old napkins filled with snippets of dialogue held no proof to convict my mom’s husband. I had failed my mission, and now, because of my inability to charge him, everyone would have to suffer.
One morning, while skimming through my observations, I suddenly realized that every single piece of paper was the evidence—each small argument was not nearly enough to arrest him, but the hundreds of notes together would easily take him down. I sighed with relief, closed my briefcase and returned it to its secret hiding place. Ready to save the world, I left my headquarters and entered reality.
After five years of hard work for the government, I was ready to retire. Spying had taught me that there is always a way out and there is always hope. All of my notes in my briefcase were screaming at me, telling me that we didn’t have to live like this—and we don’t anymore. I believe that my imagination, rather than inhibiting me from confronting reality, allowed me to imagine the possibilities of my own life and prepare myself to face it. Imagination unmasks actuality—and this is a reality.