Deafening Silence

I laugh and smile with the rest, because that’s what we do.
But when the door shuts, when the blinds fall down, I shed the mask entirely. Pull it from my forehead, my nose, my cheeks, my chin. It pinches a little, but it was peeling already, little flakes of my facade crumbling away to reveal me. Just me.
And the burning sensation in my throat stings a little sharper; and though my lips are smiling, the light in my eyes has faded long ago.
No one would guess.
No one knows.
But as the darkness envelopes me, I let the crystal drips trickle in cool streams; and the smile that has always been there, yet never really was, starts to crack.
My limbs feel stiff and sore, barely able to move. It pulls at my feet, my fingertips, my back, my shoulders, until I cannot walk.
I cradle them all, hold them close, give them gentle strokes, because they are the only hands I know. It soothes me slightly, but I’m still alone. I know that.
And as the long, slow ticks of time pass me by, the silence grows deafening.


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