Like a Shadow

08 May

no one has noticed I’ve slipped away from the party

I much prefer it out here. It’s quieter, more peaceful, there’s no pressure to be someone I’m not. I can take off my shoes – they’re uncomfortable anyways. I sit on the edge of the patio and turn my back to the house, looking instead into the dark night. Tilting my head up, I stare at the stars and try to tune out the noise from inside. I relax and let go of the feeling of being surrounded all the time.

I prefer the sounds of the crickets and of the occasional car going by to the blaring music and raucous laughter inside. It’s just too loud for me in there. I prefer being alone with my thoughts to having to make conversation. People always ask about the life I should have but don’t actually, and I don’t like trying to explain that I’m okay the way I am. Not that I feel inadequate. I don’t. I like my life, but I don’t like defending it. People never understand.

I much prefer being alone out here to wandering from one conversation to another, never speaking. I could join in, of course, but I rarely find a topic I feel I can speak authoritatively on. It’s easier just to listen, or to slip away and think about the really important things. I’m too serious, and nobody really cares to hear about those kinds of things. I like it out here better.

I much prefer the cover of darkness to the glare of light inside, to the knowledge that people are looking at me, if not for me. There’s not much too look at. I’m plain in comparison to the others here. I don’t bother with the makeup or the elaborate hair. I don’t want to spend more money on something I won’t be comfortable wearing. My dress is in fashion and I’m clean and neat – I’m not here to make a statement. People just notice I have nothing to say and move on quickly.

I much prefer it out here, or at least that’s what I tell myself. I’m choosing to be alone – I’m sure I could talk with a few of the guests if I wanted to. I’m choosing to think – I’m sure they would welcome my input in a few of the conversations I overheard coming out here. I’m choosing to leave – I’m sure people have noticed and just understand that I want some time to myself. The noise from inside is suddenly louder, and I hear a familiar voice nearby – someone has opened the door and stepped outside. I know them. Have they come looking for me? They never realise that I prefer – oh. Never mind, they’re just getting more drinks. I think I’m visible from there, but they don’t say anything. The noise swells again, then is muted as the door shuts once more. Good.

I much prefer it out here.



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Laura Gabrielle Feasey

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