Well, that's it, folks. School has officially started as of yesterday. I was wandering around the halls of Coop B, looking for my mates, only to have the realization hit home that they were all at college.
"Mates" = close friends, those with whom you can simply exist. No pretense, no masquerade. Just existence.
Now, I know plenty of people there. I know names, I could probably list faces, but they're no one I'm terribly comfortable around. Joining a conversation is awkward: it's filled with jokes I don't get, or silence that continues until I leave. These acquaintances are quite free with their hugs and physical signs of affection, but skin deep is all they ever get. The masquerade continues.
Yesterday, I felt the need to talk to someone, but no mates presented themselves. I can see an awful lot of people with potential to be mates, but they're still quite distant. They're barely in town, let alone the keep. Some of them even have shrugged me off. Now, don't think this I've got a "poor me" attitude.
I've come to an unfortunate conclusion. Not merely based on yesterday's disappointment, not based merely on my dislike of Coop B. Rather, this particular conclusion has been ruminating for a while.
The conclusion: I can never be as important to other people as they are to me. Maybe I'm clutching them too tightly, but mates make such a difference to me, I cannot fully explain it. I savor every moment when
I'm with them. And they've all moved on.
This conclusion is a not something I've really wanted to accept for a while. I reject your reality and substitute my own.
Except it doesn't work that way. It's painful. Not sharp, just aching. And it's made worse by seeing my close acquaintances completely oblivious. Granted, the oblivion is just another piece in my self-made cage, but the cage is harder to break than you'd think. ... Though, the fact that I'm writing this now is a sign that there are some weaknesses.
It's the oblivion that aches like a puzzle without a piece. And try though I may, nothing I can say or do will change that. Believe me, I've tried. But this isolation, this loneliness, this emptiness is not going away anytime in the forseeable future.
How can I know so much about them, but they know so little about me? I can even fake bad moods to keep them on the wrong track.
I've considered the unthinkable - telling some of these not-strangers what probably counts as my most secret secret. All for the sake of a few mates. But I know how the strangers would react: and so I'm left nursing my secret and my achy heart. I can hear you now: Oh, your poor, bleeding heart! But it's not melodrama, not this time.
So what are you going to do? Well, I go back to staring at happy people through the Plexiglass of my self-made cage, and wait for the air to run out, I guess. The glass is thinner than it used to be, but not enough. Not air, not light, not words, not love can get through.