Everyone has the same face.
It keeps the distance.
The safety grasps them all with its cold nature.
Too many people, but everyone is alone.
“Umm excuse me little girl, you shouldn’t stand too close to the edge; the wind will sweep your little self away.”
I nod. My feet move away from the edge.
The woman’s aged hand reached itself out of its glove and pulled its way towards me. I cringed. She chuckled. Something in the way she did it wasn’t right. I looked back to her. She morphed into something monstrous and lunged towards me. I hurled myself backward in a flurry of instinct. “Oh come now little girl, won’t you step away from the edge?” My body was already over the water’s beckoning depths. A massive claw-riddled hand wrapped itself around my ankle, and I could only watch as my head met cement.
I have long since walked away from the little old woman. Its easier to imagine strangers as giant beasts that can kill you rather than face the reality of what they actually are.
My evening has always been the same.
I walk through the lobby greeted by the usual glance of the security crew. They see me too much to smile at my presence. It makes my stay at the building a solid one. I have been living in the dog friendly complex for two lease cycles. Its paying off. My sanity is slowly dwindling away as I am succumbing to the monotony of working life.
The sudden urge to push myself through the nearest window nearly overtook me. My stomach tightens as I opened my door. The view I’d fallen in love with as a child moving into her first place by herself is now a nuisance. A room with a bed is now something of an inescapable black hole pulling me into it every night for the passed too many nights.
A slice caused me to fall to one knee. I couldn’t cry out, the grip of a creature too opaque to get a handle on now pulled me into the core of itself. I reached for the nearest blunt object, but my mind was slowly fading into the darkness I caved into.
Something is different. Something is always different, but somehow familiar, but this scent is all to new. “Good morning little one…” I look up into a new face. Was this my avid imagination spewing its usual ambiguous craziness…? “Who are you?” “Someone from your company who followed you home yesterday.” I look at him, perplexed. “Did it take you all night to pick the lock on my door?”
He sat on the side of my pit and peeked in. The face that looked down on me was… is…
“I’ve been trying to talk to you for about a month now… I wasn’t sure if you were truly deaf or if I was just imaging it… but… I think you are.” “I’m not.” I can see his face erupt with surprise. I laugh half-heartedly in response. “Why are you in my apartment…” “Why shouldn’t I be… I am just a concerned coworker… and you seem so alone.” Something ominous rests about his gaze. “I need a good reason to tell the police. Should I just label you as a common stalker?” I reach for the phone awaiting my touch on the nightstand. His sudden grip is tight around my wrist. He is on top of me. I can’t breathe.
This is real…
Everywhere his hands go my consciousness goes with them. I can feel too much. He’s inside me before I even think of hurting him back. His face is against my neck, but I can still see it. All of him burns through my veins and I can’t breathe… I can’t think…
My mind is fully aware of him leaving. I could practically push him out the door, but my body is left without enough… enough.
Fear. Yeah, there’s always the ever present fear of the unknown which dictates life, but my warrant for fear has never been so real. This is real… What just happened was… and still is.
The heat kicked on. The noise, a jolt through my entire core… I pull myself from the clutches of wet sheets soaked in too much of what happened. I run to the bathroom. The shower is the only place behind a double locked door and a wall full of steam that could shroud me. Cover me and not touch me.
I haven’t left my abyss for days.
This apartment costs money. Money comes from work. Work is where I am sure to see that… that.
I can’t. I keep calling in sick. Yesterday and today, reaffirming my illness. I feel sick. Sicker than I’ve ever been before. I can’t. Maybe I am sick. Maybe I should see a doctor. What can they give me to fix this… this?
I operate only on instinct calling the one soul within humanity who is able to send me something even over a telephone signal. “Hello mom…” Sobs stop me. “Oh sweetie what’s wrong. I’m here baby, just tell me what happened.” Words…. They pour out to her. Only she can decipher what I spew. I don’t even know, let alone, understand. I’m more confused voicing it out loud than when it was happening.
“Sweetie… I’m booking a flight now. I will be there in a few hours. You need to be there in that apartment when I get there okay? I love you so much, and I’m going to destroy that little fucker. Oh my love…” Her voice softly drifts out to my lone existence. “You are not alone… I am here for you and I love you and I will never hurt you. Know this.”
I know. “I love you too.” I hang up, tense with the notion of it. I turn myself over to sleep on the couch and await the arrival of my savior in the silence of unconsciousness.
My mother is stronger than anything I’ve ever seen.
She was there with me when I spoke to HR. She and all her law studies made sure the man was fired and in court on Monday for a hearing. He’d soon be imprisoned for, maybe too much time, but my mother insisted it wasn’t enough compared to how much her daughter had suffered.
Watching her act so swift and direct makes me feel something. Its like a piece of my core gets sparked and burns the rest of me into flames dwindling suffering into ashes that then fertilize the potential of my future.
I walk out of the courthouse with a new sense of purpose, to find purpose.
“It’s a beautiful world we live in with a solid justice system if one knows how to work with it… but some people don’t see it that way. They see a place filled with monsters and everyone being out to get them. I suppose its easier that way. Assuming everyone is out to destroy you rather than opening yourself up to only the possibility of a life not alone. You want some more tea, sweetie?”
I smile. I want more tea. I want more. I am so lucky to look into the face of love and no longer feel alone.
The waitress replenished our table with tea. Her smile is warm and her words soft, but her eyes pool ever so slightly with the nervous task of eye contact. “I love your hair.” My thank you is solidified by my smile. She walks away, no giant monster becoming her.
People are people. Not monsters.
A lone moment sent me into the grasp of reality.
The reality of true vulnerability.
of true pain.
Everyone has their own face.
Their cold indifference is the distance that keeps everyone feeling safe.
The safety implies that there is something to be cherished.
Too many people, but everyone is alone… so then… are we truly alone?
Feeling alone is the worst of all the feelings… in my opinion. It is often the cause of evil, if not for direct contribution than for the the allowance of it to take root and flourish. It can be the sole cause of mental illness or worsen it. It is easy to fix, but difficult to overcome. Solidarity in one’s solitude can be both liberating and depressing. Knowing of its existence can also have the same set of effects.
Here’s my advice. Try new things. Go to new places. Talk to strangers. (You don’t know if they’re too weird unless you talk to them;)
Remember, that person you see and think, “We’d be really good friends” probably struggles from the same fear of social interaction and need for attention that you do. So don’t succumb to the fear, if not for your sake than for theirs.
~may your breath always be the way you wish~