It’s dark outside and no one can really hear you cry. You don’t even know you’re crying until the sharp weight on your chest makes you sit up, and a tear rolls down your cheek. Fucking period. But you know it’s not the fucking period. It’s the man next to you.
You hold your chest, as if you can stop the heaving. Maybe, this time. It won’t stop until you fall asleep, too tired to weep more, and the sun awakens to dry your wet pillow and herald another day when you’re wading through life, silently screaming in disbelief, wondering how you got here and why you can’t get out.
It isn’t that he’s particularly tall or spectacularly charismatic. You don’t really see him through the cloud of your sorrow until the compulsory staff team building, which of course you tried to avoid. He’s that type. Unassuming. Doesn’t say much. In other words…not your type. You’ve always liked the loud flashy ones, which is what got you into trouble in the first place.
Lost in yourself, you don’t notice when employees are paired up for an exercise until he pulls you a chair. He sees the confused look on your face and smiles. ‘You don’t have to pay attention. I can write if you want.’ You smile back, vaguely, grateful that you can retreat. And he becomes that ambiguous space for you, where now, instead of silently screaming, you can just silently, be.
Now, you’re just reveling in having an excuse to not go home. You’re using him as an escape. He doesn’t mind, so you don’t stop. The first day he asks you to coffee after work, you know that home will just be more darkness. And so, to put it off, you stay in the sun.
It’s a quiet cafe, in a quiet corner of an abrasive city; much like him. He doesn’t make small talk, because you both hate that. In fact, he takes out a book from his laptop bag.
Then takes out another and hands it to you.
‘It seemed like something you’d like.’ That is his only explanation.
He has no idea what you would like. You don’t tell him that he’s blessedly wrong. But for the first time, you feel freer than you’ve felt in forever.
Later, when your head is being banged against a mirror and you feel a shard of clear glass cutting far too close to your eye, and you listen to him call you a whore, a whore who meets men in cafes because she’s too fancy now, you decide to die.