>Alone

>
I sit alone at the table and survey the room, taking in my surroundings in this barely familiar house. A small family occupies the room making preparations for the anticipated soirée. A cool breeze blows through the screen and empties my mind. A forgotten book lies beside my arm. I wonder at my coming here at all, but after all it is by invitation. Should I have come? The guests begin to arrive one by one in a gradual trickle, casually meeting and mingling, they are each and all well acquainted. I still sit alone although I am surrounded by a growing number of people. A woman, maybe two attempt a friendly conversation, my mind wanders and soon they do as well. Why am I here? They know me only as my fathers child. Its not enough. I know each face that enters the room and the voices that chime in are not an unknown cadence. I realize I could engage some of these people but I’m not sure I remember how, so I remain alone. The minutes pass and feel like hours. I feign interest in the conversation over dinner abstaining from the food myself. As I watch the people, longing to remember and strike up simple easy conversation, I cover my eyes with my hand. Unbidden tears spring into my tired eyes but upon noticing them I quickly shake them away and gaze out the window trying casually to regain my composure. My mind is stabbed with desire, but to act upon it is not within my power. Were I in a glass box cut off from food within sight of a feast my mind could not long for something more. My head throbs gently perhaps it the voices, there are so many people. As the evening progresses I continue to watch my surroundings. I wish I had never come. They don’t want you here. Was that true? A thousand thoughts barrage my mind weakening its shield. The voices of the crowd are dulled by the ones in my head, though they are only those of my own imagining. The pressure, the throbbing is growing stronger. Suddenly the body next to me laughs and I realize I missed the joke, in fact I have missed most of what has been said. I press my forefingers against my temples as the pressure builds. I want nothing more than to leave but I can’t tear away, I’m stranded. Again the tears well up to my eyes and I swallow the lump in my throat. How can they not notice the pressure, and the voices? They are growing and building upon each other. It must be loud enough now. They walk around me smiling, their now silent mouths chattering endlessly, maddeningly. I try desperately to recall the reason I came but its is shrouded as in a dense fog. I must endure this self inflicted torture but a short while longer. My head no longer endures the gentle throbbing, no, but it has changed to a deafening, roaring, pounding. Hammers on anvils make the armor of a thousand armies within my skull. The blood rushes forward pulsing, pounding against my forehead, looking for an escape. There is no longer any pretense I hold my head in my hands and make for the open door trying desperately to hold myself together and yet remain unseen. A foggy muddled voice whispers “goodbye” I force my mouth to open and respond although it is dry and I can’t hear what comes out. I don’t wait to see if I have been heard only knowing that I must make my escape. Tears now pour uninhibited down my face but I neither feel them nor care if they are seen, they are hidden by the hospitable darkness. The pounding has turned into screaming. I feel and hear nothing but the jumbled mass of voices in my head combining together to break the last nerve that keeps my mind from breaking. I cry out desperate for it to end before it is too late. Suddenly my world fades into blackness although I can hardly discern this night from the one I knew before, but this is different here I am alone. It is silent. There is no pounding only dark and silence. There are no voices only me. Alone.

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