Her employer genuinely likes her. She is hardworking and does what she says. She’s never raised a ruckus and always smiles at everyone. He of course isn’t exactly sure what she does, but she always appears to be busy and keeping up, at least he doesn’t hear any complaints from anyone. She doesn’t talk a lot, but when she does it’s usually spoken with a soft tone and eyes cast to the carpet. He’ll pat her on the back tomorrow and send in an assistant to do the dirty work. After all, margins are down, and everyone else has family responsibilities to think of. She is young, she can bounce back, and the simple truth is this wasn’t her career choice anyway. And so, she must go.
Her professor is genuinely impressed with her work. Sure she can be silent in most classes, but if you can press the right button she lights up the classroom with her animated and impassioned voice. She has a quick wit and when she focuses her attention it can dizzy the brain. Her written work is where she excels. If she wanted to, she could be published. Her professor keeps several of her pieces on file to offer as examples to future students, and to show colleagues. She seems disorganized at times and off in another land. Sometimes her professor mistakes her far off glances as inattention, but her work and tests are always quality. She has that potential, her professor thinks, to do whatever she would like to. And so, she will go.
The old lady on the park bench across from her doesn’t know what to make of her. She is a plain girl. Nothing special. No lines mar her face, and no expression graces it. Sometimes the older woman mistakes the down turned corners of her mouth for a frown, but she can’t be sure. Nonetheless she remarks to the girl in a good-natured motherly tone, “Smile, it won’t hurt you”. The woman thinks she is being helpful because a relieved expression floods the girls face and a smile warms her cheeks. The metro bus pulls up to the curb with a belch of diesel fumes. And then, she was gone.
Her parents, much like the old lady, don’t know what to make of her. She seems happy and well adjusted one moment, and then bursts into a rage with little or no provocation on their parts. She has it easy. She fails to realize how easy she has it most of the time. They don’t expect much from her; they are supportive of her and her lifestyle. They hope for the best, and cringe at her failures. They hope someday she will turn around and make her life more meaningful. Their nest is feeling cramped during one of her many outbursts. And so, she should go.
Her friends know her the best, or do they know her the least? She always makes them laugh. Her smile is constant and contagious. She is always so positive and willing to lend a helping hand. She doesn’t have a care in the world. Her whole life lies before her in the worn cliché that is youth. She is silly and spontaneous. Carefree is the adjective to use, or so they think. She does go.
But the genuine truth is that she is lonely. She keeps her life private. She puts on a front to keep those she loves from the worry that hangs upon her own shoulders. She sits in the dark hallways of her mind, troubled by her memories, and staring at the scars she shows no one. The riot in her brain never stops.
She hates her job. She feels meaningless and expendable. The genuine truth is, she is.
She loves school, but feels stupid. Words tumble and travel in her brain but can never really come out, at least not in the manner she would hope they would. The expectation always is much higher than the actual final product.
She hates being around people. She feels awkward and shy. The genuine truth is she will be the perpetual wallflower wilting in the gazes of strangers.
She feels a supreme letdown to her parents. Their love and praise feels like the empty echoes of a Hallmark card from moldy years past to her. She struggles to love them and hates how complicated that four letter word is. She wants to be better, she wants to be good, but the genuine truth is she doesn’t know how.
She loves her friends but she feels like a liar. Her optimism for them is boundless. Her self-deprecation garners quick bursts of laughter that can heal her soul for a time. The genuine truth is she is stanch pessimist and cannot see the truth for what it really is.
She is a hollow shell of the person she presents to the world. She aches to be loved and does not feel it’s presence surrounding and enveloping her. Instead she can only see the thorns, weeds and brambles.
And what is reality? Who sees the truth? Does she, or do they?
Her truth is cement and decay. Tonight the cold seems especially bitter. Her failings seem impossibly large. Cold steel on her flesh brings a quick subtle pain. The trickling of life spirals crimson down the drain. She sits on the tile and softly she weeps. No one noticed, and few saw it coming, and thought nothing like this.
And now, she is gone.