The words and numbers bleed from the page into a massive blur.
She was home alone again. With the familiar creaks of the door, the clicks of the thermostat, the drips of the tap. It was all deafening. How to shut silence out? You can squeeze your eyes close and plug your ears and think happy thoughts, but that predicates a nice infinite bank of happy thoughts one can draw from. And even that will not disguise this particular state of friendlessness.
It wasn’t that there weren’t people around. There were too many people around. It’s just that, well, simply put, they were not good enough. There was a dwindling number of kindred spirits, people who could block out this awful loneliness.
It wasn’t really anybody’s fault. It may very well be that she was destined to be forgotten, like an old history textbook. An acquaintance’s birthday. A wallflower. Left behind like the ornery kid. The ugly duckling. The unraptured.
She’d feared being left behind all her life. Vivid scenes of piles of clothes filled her thoughts, threatening absolute isolation: her parents’ shoes and socks and pants, neatly limp on a chair, their bodies dissolved into nothingness. And hers? Frighteningly present, in a world with no one left.
And now, it had happened for real.
People never remember the exact details of parting. It steals in like a thief in the night, changing the combination to your safe one digit at a time. You don’t notice until all your belongings are gone, and the sudden chill of nothingness jolts you from your peaceful slumber – where is the bed? – the slumber with which you invited the thief into your household. He doesn’t raise any alarms, taking only little things, mere trinkets, with him each time.
And among the little things we count:
1. the changing of the tone of a voice,
2. the messages that were never read,
3. the growing pile of work that positively demanded our whole attention,
4a. the forgetting of an appointment,
4b. and then a birthday,
4c. and then correspondence,
4d. and finally the whole person ceases altogether to exist.
In the final calculation: I am not the unraptured, but the raptured- I have simply, quietly, ceased to exist.
You are the bottleneck.
And I am deeply disappointed in you.