by Beth Coolidge
I'm sitting at a table outside of the world.
It's an uncomfortable sensation that I've had many times before. I'm sitting at a table, slowly eating a fruit salad and sipping a coke. I'm alone. I mean, I'm really alone. I am just watching people walk by --they're chatting, laughing, scowling, bickering; walking along with a totally blank expression, dazed. And that's when it hits me. I'm alone.
I'm not even a part of the world that they're walking through. It's not as if I'm invisible or anything. Sometimes, one of them looks at me, and I smile this peaceful "mother of God" type smile, and then they look away. Sometimes, one will even smile back, say hello. But we don't connect.
It's like I'm a ghost, haunting this place. Some people notice, some people don't. Some people are startled or terrified as I grab my notebook and begin to scribble. Some are drawn to the artist. They want to see their picture in words. They want to know if it's flattering. How can they hope to understand themselves through the eyes of a stranger?
The world keeps moving on. People meet, connect, join. But I've gotten lost somewhere, and I can't quite reach that second step any more. I just sit in the scenery, a bit player on the stage of other peoples'lives.The plant in the corner, silently creating atmosphere, unnoticed and collecting dust.
Penthesilea -- Will I be long dead before the world finds me again? Will I have met some tragic and bitter end unnoticed? Will my bones be dust in my grave on the day that someone finds what is left of who I really was? Will someone find my writings eons from now, and yearn to have met me, ache with passion to understand and soothe me, burn with desire for a picture, a lock of hair -- to possess some part of me? Parts of me that I would have given freely in life?
Or am I one of a thousand lost souls, wandering hopelessly, generation after generation, on this confused planet? One of many lonely spirits whom no one will ever be able to discern in the teeming masses? One of a majority who will only rest easier when this long, lonely journey is over?
Who knows? Who knows?
Beth Coolidge lives in Columbus, Ohio. She is 23 years old, divorced, and the "weekend mom" of two kids. She is an aspiring writer. She is employed as an Employee retention and loyalty specialist for an IT consulting firm.