She sat hunched in the cubicle, silent tears making their way down her pretty face, dripping from her chin on the bathroom floor. She could hear heels clicking on the tiles as girls made their way in and out of the ladies room, unaware of her misery in the corner stall. She tried to drown out the sounds, scrunching her eyes shut, rocking silently, hoping to ease the pain of disappointment, the slap of failure. This isn’t how she wanted to start her new life, scared of being left behind, thrown out of this life like a used tissue paper. This isn’t what she wanted but it certainly felt like the culmination of all her fears, condensed into this one moment and suddenly all she saw was darkness ahead of her.
How had it come to this? The teenage girl with the world at her feet was now a woman lost in the great big maze that is life, trying to find her footing. She had everything she ever wanted or needed, but a spate of unfortunate events had brought her to this point in her life where she did not know how or what to live for anymore. She was not weak; not when she lost her loved ones at an age where she needed them the most, not when she had to be the responsible adult taking care of the house when other girls were picking out prom dresses, not when she found herself surrounded by strangers away from everything she held near and dear. No, she had never been weak. But now she had reached the end of her tether and suddenly she wanted to let go, tired of holding on for so long she felt herself freefalling to her doom.
She didn’t know how much time had passed since she locked herself away in the bathroom stall. Not that anyone would notice, she thought. I am nothing; unimportant, unnecessary, irrelevant and a misfit. That is all I am to anybody who knows me, she rued as she choked on sobs that threatened to drown her. As weak as she had become, parched lips a sign of her dehydration, there was nothing left in her empty shell of a body to even squeeze out more tears. I wouldn’t be surprised to find my soul floating away aimlessly because the vessel that is my body has rejected it as well, she thought to herself.
She slowly got up and wiped her face with her hands, sniffling silently she rearranged her clothes and tiptoed out of her bathroom stall. Splashing cold water on her face she composed herself, smoothing out the creases of pain that were etched in her face a few moments ago. The office was deserted; nobody stayed in for lunch on Fridays especially when you had the food street across from work. She saw the two texts from her teammates, new recruits themselves, asking about lunch. Touching up on her makeup, she quickly checked her wallet for the crumpled note that would cover her small meal with her equally broke and nervous coworkers and headed for the elevator. After an awkward lunch of iced tea and stilted words of comfort offered to her for the boss’ early morning verbal thrashing, she headed back to her desk and hunched over the routine report she had been called too stupid to complete.
Despite her numbed senses she heard his voice, clear and confident, over the din of the bustling workplace. She was so attuned to his presence that it was hard to breathe every time he passed by her desk, enveloping her in his scent that evoked suppressed memories now too painful to recall. He was still the same person who had been the center of her universe, but someone else had become the center of his. She had been orbiting him, latching onto his warmth, but to him she was like Pluto, a small cute blip on his radar now no longer worthy of being even called a planet. She was his “good friend” who he cared about, but she was being “silly” that he hadn’t cared enough to want more. Why she had even allowed herself to become so attached when she had already been hurting from the rejection by one who she thought had been her soulmate. This short-lived office romance that had taken her mind off a failed relationship had only made old wounds bleed fresh again. Like everything else she touched, this part of her life too had turned to dust, and now she was being chased by the sandstorms of her own failures.