STOOD UP

His right leg was twitching. Beating up and down like a drummer in the middle of his solo. But he was stuck on a bench waiting. It was a beautiful day. The sun was out at half past ten and rising. The birds were chirping, the children were playing, the air was crisp, and the grass seemed greener than usual. Yet he looked as if he were sitting in a dark room.

He had been there for two hours. Sitting, waiting, wishing. Hoping that she would show up. He let his mind wander to the dentist, to his classes, to his family, and back around. He’d look at the children playing happily and smile. But if anyone looked a bit closer, they would see the pain hidden behind that smile. The sense of worthlessness that had hardened itself inside. A sense that himself tried to hide away in drinks, parties, and friends. Yet nobody ever seemed to look that closely. They just saw the smile, and thought he was ok.

He stayed through the sunshine and into the starlight, until the happy cries of children had turned to the empty silence filled only by the chirp of crickets. Until finally a gust of wind pushed him to his feet, and he realized the time. With a cool, clean breath of the night air, he began his walk home. He passed by happy couples, warm houses, and smiling teenagers, until he finally got to his flat. He ascended the stairs, focused hard at the ground so as to not think about the let down he had experienced again. He numbed himself to the pain, until he could stand to face himself in the mirror.

He checked his phone. No new messages. No calls. No friends. He felt so alone. He tossed his shirt to the hamper, and left his pants on the floor, and decided to shower. The water was like the warm embrace he had hoped for. He let it drown his senses. The steam built up and cleared his lungs. He cried. First it was small dribbles, then in heavy heaves. He sunk to the ground, legs crossed, and waited. The water poured down on him for what seemed like hours. Until he felt the heat run away and the chill set in. He got up, shut the water off, and got out. It was time to get up again.

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