Autumn- Chapter 9

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My parents arrive earlier than I'd expected. This isn't bad, since I can use their help packing. It's awesome to hug them again.

"There's a layer of dust on this guitar case," my dad observes. "Did you not play much?"

"Actually, I didn't play at all. I thought I would, but I think I needed a break from music, too."

We get all of my stuff out to my parents' SUV. I ask them to stop at the main house. They stay in the car as I go up and knock on the door. Mrs. Folsom answers.

"I'm glad you stopped by to say goodbye, Shawn!" she says affectionately. Her husband comes forward and shakes my hand and she hugs me. Both of them wish me well.

"Is Sophie here?" I ask before leaving.

Mr. Folsom shakes his head. "She's not. Sorry."

I thought this might be the case. I hand him a letter. "Can you give this to her, please?"

He nods as he takes it in his hand.

I thank them for everything again and say goodbye.

The drive home is long. I drive for part of it because I've missed being behind the wheel. We get to my condo in Toronto late in the afternoon. I get everything inside.

"Can I come over for dinner tomorrow night?" I ask before my parents leave.

"We'd love that," my mom says. She looks tired. Today was probably too much for her.

They leave and I decide I should start putting stuff away and doing laundry. The cabin had a washer and dryer, but I'd only washed clothes twice while I was there. I have several loads to do.

As I walk by my dining room table, I see that there's a brand new iPhone, still in the box, sitting there. It's crazy to think that it's been over a month since I had a phone. I remove it from the packaging. It has no charge. I take it into my room and plug it in. I then proceed with doing the laundry. Once I get a load in, I open up my laptop (which has been plugged in during my absence) and I order a pizza.

Curiosity takes over and I google myself. I want to see what has been said about me since my breakdown. I promise myself to follow Paul's instructions if any anxiety creeps in.

Several news articles pop up. They all say essentially the same thing. When I'd written to Andrew at the two-week point, I'd asked him to release a statement that honestly represented what happened to me. He'd done that.

Shawn Mendes Seeking Help after Breakdown

Singer Shawn Mendes's publicist has released a a statement about his collapse offstage on October 3.

"Shawn suffered a minor breakdown caused by stress and anxiety about an illness in his family. He is currently receiving treatment and asks that people respect his privacy as he focuses on his well-being. He apologizes to those whose shows were cancelled and promises to return to the stage as soon as possible. He is extremely grateful for all the well wishes he has received."

It was pretty much what I'd asked Andrew to say. I wanted to release a statement for two reasons. First of all, if they kept downplaying it, people would just assume the worst. There would be endless speculation, some of it way worse than the reality of the situation. Secondly, there's no shame in having a mental crisis. By coming forward, it might help others who are struggling. We all need help sometimes. If people see that I sought help, maybe they'd do the same.

After I throw the stuff from the washer into the dryer, I go to check my phone.

I have hundreds of texts. 794 to be exact. Pretty much everyone I know has sent me multiple texts to show support and check up on me. Unfortunately, many of them didn't get the word that I was without a phone. I think that by not getting a reply from me, they thought things were bad. Which led to more texts.

I spend an hour cutting and pasting the same text and sending it to everyone.

Me: Thank you for your love and support. I spent the last month seeking treatment for my breakdown in a remote area. I did not have access to the internet during this time and have just received your messages. I am doing really well and look forward to reconnecting with you.

I send this out over and over. There's one person I don't send it to, though. It's someone who just texted me today.

Unknown: Hey Shawn, it's me, Sophie

Unknown: I got your letter

I quickly add her to my contacts, my heart pounding with excitement that she'd texted me.

In the letter I'd apologized for offering to pay her tuition. Sometimes, when you have a ton of money, you don't realize that people aren't always comfortable with you paying for things for them. You may have money to spare, but many people want to do things on their own. I'm not talking about charities, obviously. It's always good to help organizations that rely on donations. But I need to be more thoughtful about making offers to those I care about.

Another thing I said in the letter was thank you, only I said it in a lot more words. I wanted her to know in great detail exactly how her friendship helped me.

Finally, I told her how I feel about her. That was the hardest part of the letter to write, but hell, I had nothing to lose. If she has no feelings for me, then that's it. We can still be friends. If she does feel like I do, then maybe we can try to make a relationship work. I had to give it a shot.

I reply to her text.

Me: I meant what I said

Me: Thank you for everything

Me: I'm going to miss you

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