Surrounded by Strangers

I’m sitting in a room surrounded by strangers. In a circle to be more specific, so that no matter where I stare I am bound to make eye contact with someone. It’s like doctor recommended torture. It’s like something I didn’t sign up for.

The walls around me are plain and white. The room smells oddly similar to a hospital, even though it’s not, which makes the smell of medicine mixed with just about every emotion but happiness, even more unbearable.

And did I mention, that they are forcing us to sit in a circle?

I’ve been through a lot of terrible things in my life, in fact, that’s how I ended up in one of these medical ordered therapy groups. But as I sit here, staring at my dirty converse because it’s the only safe place to look, I silently conclude that being forced to sit in a circle full of strangers is definitely on the list of terrible things that have happened to me.

Which is slightly ironic, because I am here to heal from the terrible things, and yet somehow, all it seems to be doing is adding to the heartache.

The door slams open on the back wall, and I swear I can hear it lock behind the squeaky shoes that are getting louder and closer with every step. And I can literally feel the tension in the room shift as everyone else, in their plastic uncomfortable chairs, straightens their backs and waits for instructions.

And, yet I’m still trying to find the energy to lift my eyes from the floor to the new person who joined the circle.

I hate this damn circle.

I don’t know who is talking, and I can’t really make out what they are saying, but next thing I know I am being nudged by my neighbour as she tries to pass me a piece of paper and an extra pen.

“write down the worst thing that someone has ever said to you,”

“actually, write down the worst thing that the person who you love has ever said to you”

That’ll be easy, I could do this at home, instead of being locked away in this awful white room, in a circle full of strangers, but I write down my answer.

It takes less then 15 seconds.

I don’t even have to think about it.

Everyone around me is still writing, but I’ve already folded up my answer and tucked it safely underneath my leg. Where it can stay a secret between the two of us. The way it was meant to.

So that for one more time, I can pretend that it’s true.

I finally got the energy to lift my eyes and scan the circle, this instantly turned into my biggest regret for the day, because as soon as my eyes left my shoes, they met those of the instructor who sat directly across from me.

“Your first,” he said

I knew it wasn’t a question, more like an order, and I also knew that the only way to get out of it was to beeline for the door, and I’ve never been much of a runner.

However, that used to be something that you loved about me.

I stood up quietly, fiddling with the 25 cent necklace you bought me once, that was tucked safely beneath my sweater and read out-loud three simple words.

Three simple words that have been haunting me.

Three simple words that I can barely choked out.

Three simple words that are wrote down neatly on my piece of paper marking the worst thing that you have ever said to me.

“I love you.”

And by the time the last vowel left my lips, the tears had turned into a steady stream, my knees buckled underneath my weight, and my brain finally came to the cold, harsh realization that your lunges would never breathe those words to me again.

I wrapped my arms tightly around my weak body that was protected by one of your favourite shirts that I found under my bed, and walked out of the circle, and away from the strangers because the only stranger that I could bare to be around right now, would be you.


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