Short Story – Alone in a Crowd

People think that being alone is all silence and isolation. For me, being alone is standing still watching the world go around me in fast forward. They don’t perceive me and I don’t dare interrupt whatever they are in such a hurry to accomplish. It must be important. I’m not important.

Not that I don’t think I’m important within the scope of my own existence. I am as important as anyone else. I just don’t think that I’m more important than anyone else. I’m not one of those self-entitled people who think the world should bow down and step aside.

Those people should have their kneecaps broken. My court-appointed new best friend calls that an inappropriate thought. Apparently everyone has them, but the norms don’t act on them. My court-appointed life goal is to become a norm. Doesn’t that sound like a monkey barrel full of fun?

At the time it seemed like letting the court take control of my life was better than going to jail. Now I’m not so sure. This isn’t freedom. I’m not sure what to call it. Whatever it is, I only have to do it for six more months. My brothers are planning a coming out party.

My brothers are not my friends. I was a several years later surprise. Never able to keep up with them physically or scholastically I became the black sheep. My parents were too old and tired to care that I strayed from the norm. There’s that word again.

My brothers are normal. They’re falling down drunk every Friday and Saturday night. I like to drink but not that hard. That’s why it’s been easier for me than the other guys in the circle of chairs. They are normal. They have normal problems. Drunks are OK. I am not.

I wish I had some poetic trigger to my violence. Like, “I see a purple light coming from my head.” But it just happens. Like a car skidding off the road. No, it’s not even like that. Some guy says something insulting, not meaning it, and I’m pounding his face.

That hasn’t happened in a while though. They gave me these pills called mood stabilizers. They make everyone else seem like they are far away so it doesn’t bother me, no matter what they say. I don’t like them, but the name reminds me of the Star Blazers cartoon.

So here I sit in lonely and confused silence with the cult of the circle of chairs. Mood stabilized, unable to express myself. The others take their turns complaining about their lives and repeating the lies they told their parole officers. The facilitator writes it all down on their permanent records.

Author: Tom
Writer, cyclist, RVer, etc.