“Hey! Come out of there! You’re being ridiculous!” I jam my fingers in my ears and squeeze my eyes tight. With each bang on the wall, I slide further to the ground.
Then it stops. I open my eyes. The frosted walls surround me, paling the light from without to a soft dimness. I exhale slowly. I can see my smoky breath. I shiver and hug my knees to my chest. The sounds from without are muffled. My heart beats thunderously against my chest.
Another voice approaches; this one is calmer. It is the voice of reason. “Let me come in and help you. We can fix this.” I watch the shadowy figure through the wall. He taps gently.
But the thunder in my chest does not cease. I hug myself tighter, willing him to go away. He won’t understand.
"Use your words."
I slam my head back against the wall. I can’t! I scream inside. I don’t have any words—they are gone!
The man on the other side of the wall stops tapping and walks away. I close my eyes in the silence.
I have only emptiness where words have abandoned me.
“I’m sorry I’m in such a negative mood,” I said, avoiding his eyes.
“Alcohol usually helps with that,” he replied, a smile dancing on his words.
No alcohol—not now. It will only crack the dam holding back the flood of tears.
“Do you have any suggestions for helping one get out of a bad mood?” I asked.
“Well, drugs seem to be the path of choice for most young Americans these days,” he replied, a twinkle in his eye—reminding me of the smile on another man’s words.
I have already thought of that; already rummaged my memory in search of those pills. I am sure I did not throw them out. It’s been years since I’ve taken them, but it’s been years since I’ve felt so silent.
In the silence I hear a soft voice slowly whisper, “Thankfulness.” I open my eyes. There is a misty wisp gliding in front of my eyes. I reach out to grasp it, but my hand hits the wall and the wisp vanishes.
I continue to look through the frosted wall. I see distant figures moving to and fro. A shiver runs through my body. I sit back and pull myself as closely as possible. I look around my small enclosure. The silence is overwhelming, but the emptiness is worse.
I know what I want to happen. I want someone to come into my silence and join me there. I want someone to come into my emptiness and join me there.
I stare at the bareness beside me, willing such a figure to appear. “Hold me,” I whisper. But only silence and emptiness reply. I drop my head to my knees and let the dam break.