Posted: April 23, 2011 in Writing

The room bubbles with life, but she feels a world apart from the effervescence. It’s always been a struggle to exude happiness at large gatherings, especially when she’s simply wishing she could be hidden away under a quilt in bed or on the couch, clutching a good book in one hand or a cup of tea with both. Society hints at defectiveness when difference is a more simple explanation, although it’s not often she remembers this. When everybody else thinks one way, it seems wrong that you should think another. Parties mean friends, and friends mean normalcy – but can’t you make friends in other ways? The majority says no. You are the weakest link.

She sits in the corner, half empty glass in hand, tucked unobtrusively in the midst of a group of gabbling people that she knows vaguely. Her eyes watch the tall figure of her boyfriend, so easily conversing with other people, as if he were born to socialize – so at home, like a fish in water or a nerd in a comic store. He knows the right moves, the words that make people smile.. he can find the superman comics blindfolded. His ease makes her uncomfortable in her own skin, restless and ready to leave. She lowers her eyes and sips at the drink.

How does it feel to be in his shoes? Alcohol in hand and that warm feeling in the pit of his stomach, a slight blur to the edges of his vision and that easy smile plastered across his face. Does he look at her and wonder why he’s with her? Or worse, does he wonder what’s wrong with her, sitting in the corner all alone? And so when an opportunity comes to socialize, she flails helplessly in an attempt to insert herself into the conversation that’s been going on around her. She’s been listening, entirely aware of what they’ve been going on about, but simply having nothing useful to contribute to what was a useless conversation to begin with. She flails, and she fails, the people around her giving those looks that she’s so used to – their eyes asking one another wordlessly ‘who thinks that?’ ‘who says that?’ ‘where did that come from?’

Before she makes another blunder, she extricates herself from the corner, sets her glass in the sink and seeks refuge by her boyfriend’s tall frame. She softly suggests going home when his conversation ends, silently jealous of the people around her who are loud with their drunkenness but had always been easy with their words, even without alcohol greasing their tongues. He looks at her, and she wonders if this will put a wedge between him as it has with others – she hopes it won’t. She’s come to love him, would be lost without him. He nods, asks for another fifteen minutes and plunges into another conversation. She looks hopefully back to the corner, but her spot has been filled with somebody else – someone who talks and says the right things at the right time.

She stands in the middle of the room, alone and helpless, lost in a sea of people who wonder what’s wrong with her, why did she come if she didn’t want to be here? She looks at her simple black shoes, feels the heat rising to her cheeks, concealed by the abnormal presence of makeup. She just wanted to make him happy by going to something for once, to make him proud by looking pretty.

But even here, in the midst of people she knows and loves, she feels like an impostor. A pretender to her own name. She’s the girl who never comes to things, she’s sure they whisper about her holding back her boyfriend. She’s the weird, silent one. Not the ugly duckling, just the plain, unremarkable one. And tonight she’s the one who’s pretending to be something she’s not.

She wants to go home.

  1. oisinsgirl says:

    I hope this is not something that you experienced lately? It happens to me all the time, Ois is such a social butterfly and I am so awkward with people, especially ones that I don’t know all that well. I can imagine how hard it is in another country with no friends or family to talk to!
    Very relatable writing!

  2. ebzindisney says:

    Nah, not lately. Just a memory from Orlando. I’m terribly bad at parties.. better with a couple of good friends, a bottle of wine (or two) and a good topic for conversation 🙂 hehe

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