I am hurt, I can feel it. Dragging my feet around the house I feel like a cripple. I can’t raise my eyes to anybody, can’t talk looking straight at them. I avoid, I step aside, I become a non-entity. I move like a ghost making as little noise as I can and yet I am one of four. I am noticed, I am called upon and I can’t run anywhere when that happens.

I like my college though, teeming masses, giggling, laughing, crying, breathing, living their life. I look at them and feel like a leper. Their gaze seems to look at me and then look away. I walk on to new people with same faces, groups of giggling pretty girls, lost engrossed, guys talking stuff, having a good time.

I walk on; I’m not a part of it. I’m part of nothing. I look at my mates. They look back at me, I smile back fondly, but I still feel alone, I still feel so cold inside. I sit down with them and immediately get into the goofy guy role I play so well. The guy who is always the butt of their jokes. The guy who tries so hard to please the people around him.

I grow tired of this charade. My muscles ache. I feel like the tortured Joker, trying to make people laugh while crying inside for a break. It’s become a job for me. I grow weary.

I get up suddenly. I decide it’s time. They’re looking up at me, half smiles still on their faces. Is the group fool, the jester about to do something? I pick my bag and leave, no questions asked and no lies told. I walk on; the pretty innocent faces scare me. Why can’t I be like them? Why can’t I? Was I made wrong? Was I brought up wrong?

My feet find their own way through the crowd, my body greets and meets people on its own accord. My hands shaking theirs, my voice greeting them the same way I always did. I wanted to be part of their world so bad, if only they knew. I was winding down, acting weird. I walked on finding more pretty faces to greet. Finding more groups of happy laughter.

I was on the stairwell, I saw my teacher and even though I consider him a fool, I greeted him politely. I cursed myself. These appropriate responses keep going out of my mouth, my mouth which has a mind of its own. A mind so different from who I am.
I reach the terrace. The emptiness pleases me, a moment to relax, a moment to myself, no pretences here. I sit down, away from my role, away from responsibilities. I sit down and watch the birds going about their business, the wind gushing around me. A surge of happiness fills me up.

I walk to the edge, I see the groups of the pretty and innocent. Pains me, hurts me not to be down there. In a fit of rage, I climb the wall. Standing four floors up on the terrace, the wind pushes me forward even as I firmly stand my ground. I feel the wall under my feet, the crumbling edges powdered under my feet as I fight for grip. Nobody sees me and yet I see everybody.
I feel my feet moving. I close my eyes. I just feel the wind, I just hear the words. One foot hanging in air as my body is all tensed up. The left foot, still on the ground, my arms spread out wide, my bag hanging loose from my shoulder. I can feel it coming, the sweet release.
And then my phone starts ringing. As I am jolted back to reality, I back off, both my feet back on the terrace. My hand automatically sneaks into my pocket, pulling my phone out. I look at the screen, it is a message from her. The girl I really like. It doesn’t say much. It just ends with the usual ‘You’re mad.’

A smile gently creeps over my lips. I read the message again. Even as the phone snuck back into my pocket I walk away from the wall, it could wait. There is still hope.

As I walk among the happy smiling faces, they don’t seem so hostile anymore, they don’t seem so distant. I walk along with a smile on my face. Another day to go and a little something to work for.

 

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