Mutual Suffering

There is something about society that scares me. Or, rather, I am afraid that there is something about me that scares society.

I try not to address those fears, because I am afraid that as soon as I address those fears, I will be kicked to the curb and not allowed back into the facade of a party that society is holding for anyone who can handle it right now. Which is why I have my Instagram account, a long with a bevy of other polished yet ersatz social media accounts, starring me, emblazoned at the top of your feed, smiling with drink in hand next to some pretty person. I am here for this. I am here to belong, to close my eyes in the ceaseless parade, not knowing where we are going, but definitely going there alone.

I am afraid to open my eyes. Because when I open my eyes, I will see that I am bleeding. I will not be able to see if anyone else is bleeding – they will have their phones propped up for me to see them through, like a sequinned shield past which I cannot look. I will get dizzy.

I am already dizzy, and the loss of blood, and the pinch of pain – I am afraid that I will have to leave this party. And as soon as I leave, everyone will notice that I have opted out. I will have to squat on the curb by myself while the parade of life – whatever that means – is passing me by. I will have to sit there alone. Defeated.

They will recoil from me. When I peel off this mask with teeth laid bare. They will walk by my as hunch down in squalor, and they will judge me. They will refuse to talk to me. They will pretend I do not exist. When I stop to breath and be myself, that is when I must surrender.

I will be alone.

Which I guess is the scariest part of all. It was easier to be dizzy and confused with a mask on with the rest of them, even if none of them were my friends and none of them knew my name. I am sitting here, hoping that someone will see me and not run away.

Which is when, through the crowd, I see a monster like me. He sees me, too, through the din of the chaos of people in masks.

This is real.

I am ugly and torn down, but he is coming towards me. And him? He is repulsive, too, at least by the standards of the beautiful people. But I see him, and he does not scare me. I go to him.

We are both ugly, but we are in each others’ arms. Laid out in the gutter with our eyes open. I think this is where we belong. Here. Together. Not dancing a fool’s dance in the middle of a crowd, but quietly being ugly in this corner just the two of us.

He sees my pain. He can feel it, too, and I, his. But we do not run away. In silence, he kisses me where it hurts the most. He touches my face, with its lines etched in agony. We are real together. We make sense together. We have stopped running together. We are here with each other, and that is all we need to be. The rest of the world is passing us by, but everything we need is right here and right now. And everything is going to be okay.

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