I’ve lost more. The only lifeline I had, gone. Another gift I couldn’t accept. Dreams that torture me and tell me “You have a few things to work on, in case you didn’t know.”. A melange of realities that weren’t allowed, of a lost child, a lost marriage, a lost future, a lost past. Vivisected. Cut open for the sake of experimentation. This is my brain on slow, brown-gray nights, in a mostly-empty ¬†little house packed tight amongst houses overflowing with life. Outlier, an alien being that simply does not belong. I clutch to my legs alongside you, desperate to keep up, but remain unseen. Look at me and these hollow eyes, but then see right through, to the smiling, receptive faces beyond.

No direction, no stability, no anchor. Listless, scrambling, slipping. These are the visions shown to me in my dreams, of being lost in strange cities, of static-ridden cellphone calls to those I’ve lost, of violent storms and no shelter. I drive on strange, ink-black roads, my loved ones stranded on the side, or, aware of my presence, desperately trying to escape me as I beg them to just…wait. Please, wait and let me explain, let me talk to you one last time, let me say goodbye. But then they’re gone, always gone, lost in the static. Just as in my waking life, they’re lost in the static, of my anxiety, of my baggage, of my supposedly “self-protective” curse as it lays waste.

Please don’t hurt me. Please understand that I can’t let you in, though I’ve tried. Something you said or did, real or imagined, well, it scared me away, and this…shell-version, compromised-version…was the result. I’m sorry I closed you off, that you felt pushed away, that you felt I wanted to be alone, that you were deemed untrustworthy. It was all static. A voice that says “You don’t need me, and, in fact, maybe you’re better off.” I loved you all so very much, I was just so very afraid.

I’m worried. Really really worried now. So many lifelines severed, so much connective tissue, to a life I once took for granted, a life of family commitments, of friends and good, positive work, of growth. All of it cut from me, like an umbilical cord spewing life in every direction but my own. Something in me is permanently gone, and I feel that strongly. It’s just gone, and I don’t have enough time in my life to repair it. So, here I am. The observer, of what could be “only if”. Observing perfectly happy moments, while wondering “how would this be, if only I could feel…”. Relationships where I think: how wonderful this would be, if I could only trust, if only I could reveal myself again, if only I weren’t so broken. If only I could know that I wouldn’t be hurt again.

Scan the horizon for threats. Take deep breathes and tell myself, unconvinced, that I’m okay. Take inventory of things I’m grateful for, yet receiving the familiar gaze from within as it replies with indifference. Do not feel, it says. I’m sorry but I can’t allow that, good or bad, I’ve reserved only the single feeling for you, and I see you’ve grown quite adept, fearing the very feeling itself, a repetitive, cursed conundrum, wouldn’t you say? Fear the fear the fear the fear the fear…

We must run, always. For our life, we must run.

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