Phantom

“People should feel sad when they read this,” Brad said to me at our last group meeting.

I nodded in silent agreement. I was glad he understood the words I had just vomited trying to explain the theme of my Invictus story.

“The title of your piece will be No Safe Harbour.”

Again, he hit the nail on the head. I didn’t acknowledge how much I vehemently agreed with the title, or how thankful I was that he understood. I didn’t say much because I was thinking about how sad I will be when I write it.

Brad said that my difficulty will be trying to explain the absence of something to the reader.

Have you ever felt a pain in your heart when someone mentions their best friend? Have you ever been equal parts awe-struck and enraged when someone tells you their anniversary is fast approaching? Have you ever walked down a road and stopped because you realize that every single person you could wish to talk to either has someone more important than you in their life, is geographically removed from the picture, or simply just wouldn’t talk to you even if you called?

Trying to explain the non-existence of a home, a place where you feel like you can always return to calm the restlessness in your heart and mind, is like trying to explain a color. You can only describe it in relation to something else.

I have a loving, moderately normal family. I have people I love and call my friends. But there isn’t a single person in the world that knows me completely. The most intimate friendship I’ve ever had lasted five years. Since then, I’ve become good at compartmentalizing. I’ll open up, but only as much as I let the relationships hold, otherwise I’m afraid they’ll capsize.

I can already tell it’s getting to me. Four years in one town is making me anxious. The number of people graduating and coming and going will start to escalate. When friends talk about keeping in contact with one another after graduation, I find myself detaching. Getting my bearings, weighing anchor, adjusting the rigging, ready to ship out again.

It’s what I know. It’s what I’m used to. It’s what I’ve forced myself to become accustomed to. It’s made me realize lately that I like being alone more than I like being around people the majority of the time. How do I describe the absence of something when it’s just… existence?

I guess that’s what my story will attempt to do. But even after all the sentences are written, and words are read, and people know why I am the way I am, will anyone honestly and truly understand?