Consumption

There’s a lump in her chest that is growing like a cancer. It isn’t cancer. It’s just a teardrop that rolled down her throat one hot summer evening and has stayed there ever since. It pulses when it expands, alerting her of its presence.
She is aware of it tonight. She is aware, as she scrolls through the names and numbers and faces and words of the people she has loved, even if only for a second, that she will always miss a greater number of people than that which represents the ones in her life.
She is aware as she looks at them that they are not lost. They have lives and friends and contacts in their cellphones. They have deadlines they are meeting and desires they are fulfilling. They are simply doing these things without her. And she is convinced that she has been erased from their minds, completely, as if she never occupied spaces in their beds, in their heads.
She is aware that as the train rumbles past on its delectable-sounding tracks it is carrying countless forms she will never encounter, and she misses them too.
She wants to take the whole world in. She wants to hug every human being she finds repulsive. She wants to sleep with everyone who thinks she is pretty, even if only on the inside. She wants to collect joys in a jar and pick them out one by one when the lump weighs heavily on her chest.
She cannot contend with reality. She pushes it away from the corners of her eyes and sets fire to images of a future long past.
When the words spread out of her fingers and massage themselves into her skin, she breathes a sigh of partial relief. She can keep the lump at bay but it will consume her. One day.

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