I’m standing on the stairway at the end of the beige corridor. The lights are low. The tone of the scene matches my insides. Dark and worried. Silent.
I glance down the hallway and she is in the doorway. He had knocked on her door looking for me. They both turn my direction, looking my way as if they were deer in the night.
She is peeking at me from the 5 inch crack in the door. He face is pale and worried. Her hair is up and frazzled. She stands there in her vintage pajamas, pastel and faded. She is giving off a low, frightened energy. It seems like he may have interrupted her while she was crying in there alone.
When we meet eyes, she frowns at me in the most loving way you could imagine. I don’t return the look. I stare; blank. Empty. Bleak and broken.
Our pain is so similar, yet nothing alike. When my pain freezes me in time, her pain shatters her entire world. When my pain rings loudly in everyone’s’ ears and runs red streaks throughout my sight, her pain doesn’t make a peep. Even though our pain speaks different truths, it is still pain.
I keep replaying this 10 second moment in my head. I have guilt for not returning the look. I was too strong in my emptiness. I regret not saying hello earlier in the evening. I regret not smiling in that moment.
I should have conveyed that we are wearing the same shields. I should’ve conveyed that we are on the same muddy battlefield, giving it our all, fighting the same war. I should’ve conveyed that we were allies, at risk for losing the same thing. We must gaurd our lives together as a team.