You don't feel the rain standing under an umbrella

I looked up to the building in front of me. It was small and made of grey stones. So this is where I'd meet my doom.

It had all started the day of my 9th birthday. I'd gotten all kinds of presents, like Barbies and stuffed animals, but my aunt gave me the best gift ever: a book. My parents had never been book people, they preferred watching the movies so I'd grown up watching TV instead of reading, but after that gift, my obsession started. First, I went to the library and read all the children's books I deemed worth reading, and after that, I started the teen books. At twelve, I read two books per week. At thirteen, I had to redo my schoolyear because I didn't do my homework but opted to read instead. I don't know why I wanted to read so much, but I think it had something to do with the feeling of living in another world, where all your problems didn't exist and you just followed the hero or heroine in his or her adventures.

I didn't have the happiest family life: my parents both kind of ignored me because they worked so hard. Don't get me wrong, they loved me, but they both had such time-consuming jobs that they didn't had much time for me. I didn't really mind. Sure, I felt lonely sometimes, but I always had a book to cheer me up. I'd never had a brother or sister. I didn't have time for boyfriends, I had to keep reading. It had become some sort of obsession for me. I just couldn't stop!

When in 10th grade my grades were so bad that if I didn't raise them soon, I'd fail again, my parents cut my book access to one per two weeks. I felt miserable, but it helped. I wanted to read so badly that I opened my schoolbooks and absorbed everything, just to be able to read something.

At fifteen, the first Harry Potter book came out. I was first kind of apprehensive about it, but when I started reading I fell for it. Harry's world spoke to me, and so did Harry himself. When the second book came out, I finished it the same day. In the years that followed I could hardly wait for the next books to come out, and I developed a crush on Harry. Dear, sweet Harry, who got his childhood, his parents and his innocence taken away all by one guy. I felt sorry for him and wished for his life to get better. I couldn't think of anyone else than Harry. In class, instead of the reading I normally did, I wrote "Mrs. Vera Potter" on my notebook. At home, I would just stare in space thinking about him. It turned so bad, even my parents noticed my strange behaviour.

They tried to help me, to get me to realise that this love wasn't normal, but I wouldn't admit that I had a problem, so as a last resort, they send me here.

I tried to calm down my wildly beating heart, and opened the door. As I walked into the building I could see a notice board with a giant paper hanging on it saying "UNUSUAL ISSUES GROUP THERAPY, EVERY OTHER TUESDAY AT 9 O'CLOCK!" I looked around the corridor, trying to find an escape. I wanted to run away, to get away from this building, but a man walked towards me. He was tall and in his mid-forties with friendly grey eyes. "You're just in time" he said, and he guided me towards a small room at the end of the corridor. "We were just about to start".

As we walked into the room I could see about 12 people sitting in plastic chairs. There was a woman of about 30, with brown hair and purple glasses, a man with with gray hair and braces who looked to be in his early seventies and a young girl that stared at me for over a minute without blinking. As I sat down in one of the spare seats, the man started talking: "Hello, and welcome at our Unusual Issues Group. My name is Orlando Spikes, but you can call me Spike." He smiled at us. "Tonight we are all here to share our Unusual problems." I stared at him, bored, meanwhile thinking about Harry and his soft black hair. "Let's see, who would like to start?" said Spike while looking down the circle. "You there, Miss?" He pointed at me.

"I don't have a problem." I said indignantly. "I don't have to be here."

"Nobody will judge you inside this room, everybody here has problems and is here to confess them." said Spike. "There is nothing to be afraid off, but we'll let some people go first if you're scared." I sputtered about how I wasn't scared and really didn't need any help but he just ignored me and I was forced to listen to other people. Strangely enough, their stories really hit me. I realised that my love for Harry wasn't healthy. It wasn't normal. It shouldn't be. So I made a decision. When it was time for a break, I took my cell phone and called my mom. "Mom? Yeah, it's me, listen, I need you to do something for me. Could you burn all my Harry Potter books for me? Yes? Okay, thanks, bye." And with that, I hung up. When break was over and we all sat down again, I raised my hand and asked if I could say something. Mustering all my courage I stood up and said:

"My name is Vera, and I am in love with a fictional character."