When you look into her eyes, you can tell she’s broken. You can tell she’s struggling to keep the smile on her face and the lightness in her voice. It’s obvious how forced her laugh is and how fake her joking is. Is everyone else oblivious or do they choose to ignore it? I’m watching her right now, watching as she fights the sadness that has settled into her soul. She would die before she showed how miserable she is, but her state of misery might just kill her. Can someone explain to me how someone can live like that? Half there, half gone.
She’s excusing herself from the crowd now, slipping away into another room so that she can drop the act and relax for two seconds. I tiptoe behind her, following her into the depths of the house. I have to see if my assumptions were right.
She opens the door and walks in quickly. I see her sit herself down on a bed that sits in the middle of the room. She’s too far gone to notice my presence. Her shoulders sag almost immediately. A small, strangled breath emits from her mouth and she presses the heels of her hands into her eyes. She’s trying to keep herself under control. She’s trying to tame a monstrous sadness that will take over her body if she lets it. She needs help. But who will give it to her if she doesn’t tell anyone about what’s going on? She keeps her depression in the closet as if it’s some horrible, dark, ugly secret.
I wanted desperately to go to her and comfort her. I ached to wrap my arms around her and let her cry on my shoulder. Tell her that what she wasn’t feeling wasn’t anything to be ashamed of.
She suddenly sat up straighter and whispered something to herself. She furiously wiped away the tears on her cheeks and forced herself to take deep breaths. She was making herself shove her emotions back into some dark corner and not show them. She was trying to be strong, when in actuality she was hurting herself more. She didn’t want anyone to know that she wasn’t actually happy.
I backed away from my spot in the doorway, retreating back to the main room where everyone still sits. I sit down in the corner of the room and sip my glass of water. I watch as she comes back into the room, all smiles.
It sickens me to see her doing this, sickens me to the core. But what can I do? What can I say? She’ll regard me as some sort of crazed, obsessive freak. She wouldn’t understand that all I want is to help her. She would deny anything I said and pretend I never approached her. I knew this, because I used to be exactly like her. I see so much of my former self in her that it pains me. Faking emotion is the same as lying. It’s deceitful. It’s wrong.
She tilts her head back as she laughs at something that someone said. However, after her laughter has died down, her pained gaze meets mine from across the room. I keep my expression sober, so that my message of complete understanding was easily transferred to her. Her gaze softened for a brief moment, and I was fully able to see her true emotions. However, in the next second, she tore her gaze away from me and plastered a smile to her face, laughing at some comment made by the big-mouths that inhabited this room. I sat there quietly, taking it all in. As she was laughing at yet another bad, over-told joke, she glanced over at me again. Her eyes were dead.
This was a start. Regardless of my previous thoughts about approaching her, I now had a new goal. Her eyes met mine for the third time and I sent a small smile her way. Her face went blank. And then, ever so slowly, she gave me a sad smile. It was honest. It was real. It was a start.