Your key finally finds the lock in the dark.

The house is cold when you walk in, the temperature not much different from outside. You haven’t been home all day, it’s been a busy day, and it’s past midnight now. No warmth, no smells, no sounds. It seems as empty, as stuffy and as cold as you. The heat goes on, as does the water heater so that you can shower, and a heating blanket so that your bed is warm when you finally fall into it.

Overcompensation. Useless.

None of them will warm you tonight. It’s not the weather to blame for the chill you feel down to your core.

Your mask is off and the image in the mirror can’t fool you. The smile that everyone adores has disappeared. Their laughs ring in your ears but you find nothing funny. The quiet now is deafening. And you’re submerged in it. You can only drown it out when you are surrounded by other sounds; people talking, cars passing on the street, loud music, voices – that aren’t the ones in your head. It’s all a placebo. Something to dull the ache of your loneliness.

You chose this life. Solitude suits you. You’re better off. Some nights you can’t bare it and you look for solace in the presence of another. Ones when you cannot stand being alone with yourself. Those are the nights your mask gets too heavy to bare. You long for something of substance, someone, just for you. You don’t need companionship, or love, though. You don’t want it.

No, you’re far too strong for that.

Who’ll understand? Who’ll know; without having to be told? Which tortured soul can peer into yours? Who’ll care enough to see you for who you really are and not what you show the world that you are? Who’ll see beyond fake smiles? Who’ll care enough to see? Who’ll love you enough, even without your mask, to stay?

You don’t know it, but there is someone thinking about you tonight.

Someone that knows. Someone that will hold you, snap your loose pieces back into place, warm you and chase the silence away. Someone that would love to hear your real voice and see your real face, even when you don’t want to show it.

You sit at your desk. Piles of paper around you. Tons of work to be done. No desire whatsoever to do anything. Dive into work. Don’t think about anything else. A trick you’ve taught yourself so that you don’t feel completely useless. So that you don’t just sit there and drive yourself crazy thinking about things you can’t change. Things that have nothing -yet everything- to do with you. If you can’t have what you want, be productive. Make something of yourself so that at least your life isn’t idly wasted. Leave your fingerprint on this world. Because you can leave it on the whole world – just not on one person.

Music plays in the background; another trick, something to keep you company.

One thing soothes your aching soul when the thoughts become too much to contain. Write it down. Lock it up. Don’t tell anyone. Think with your head and not your heart. Muzzle it, drown its voice. Find things to keep yourself busy with, friends to chat with, surround yourself with people who love you.  It’s all a placebo. Something to dull the ache of your loneliness.

Be rational. Be logical. Keep your hands busy. Don’t reach out. Fool yourself into thinking that you choose not to reach out; not that, even if you do, you’ll find nothing there to touch. Don’t; so you don’t realize that everything you dream of is just out of your reach. You’re done with dreams, hope; love.

No, you’re far too strong for that.

Who’ll understand? Who’ll want to? Who’ll ask? Is there anyone wondering how you are? Is there anyone who cares? Is there anyone that’ll be there for you?

You don’t know it, but there is someone thinking about you tonight.

Someone who reads every word, who reads even the silences. Someone who sees through it all. Someone who’s cared enough to. Someone reaching out in the dark, longing to stay.

You pull back the covers on your bed and crawl into it, empty until you lay down, no one there to touch or smell or feel as you spread your body out into it. You close your eyes. You have banished your thoughts.

Sleep now. Enough for one day. Enough for a lifetime, one might say.

Right now, in this moment, you’re not strong enough anymore.

Sleep comes eventually, but just before it does, one thought crosses your mind. One thought you would never admit to having, one thought you would never speak out loud, or write down, so that there is no testimony of it ever existing.

Is there anyone out there?

Some day.

You’ll come back to a warm house, full of light and amazing smells, and find someone at a desk surrounded by piles of paper.
As you work, no longer working just to keep yourself busy, you’ll hear keys at the door. A voice, beyond the song, will call out your name.
Walking up to them, you’ll be wearing your own smile and not the mask’s and they’ll look up at you and return it.
As they bend down, you’ll turn your face to kiss them and welcome them home.
Their kiss will lift the weight from your shoulders, it will quiet your mind from the noise of the day.
Their caress on your cheek will strum your hopes and banish your darkest thoughts.

Some day, there’ll be someone that cares you’re there.

It will be past midnight when you finally get to bed. A warm bed – for two. Your hands will find someone to touch when you reach out and their smell will be on your pillow, as well as their own. There will be someone’s body to hold when you sigh, a long day coming to an end. You’ll know that someone thought of you today because they will be right there next you, holding you, breathing breath from your own. And as sleep comes for you, you will know the answer to that question you never uttered.

Go to bed now, close your eyes.
Take a deep breath and don’t wonder anymore.

There’s someone thinking about you tonight.

Author: Nikól Peri

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