How I Met Anxiety
Summary: An evening with a curious young man and a hurting little girl who requested to be taken away.
Rating/Genre: PG/Drama, Slice of Life
Take me away from here. Just for a moment.
It was said in such resigned plea; those shoulders slumped and lips almost quivering. How was I supposed to turn away from that? It didn’t take difficult guessing that she was going through a hard time and had even resorted to asking something like this to me, a stranger at that.
Are you sure?
I knew she was eyeing the vehicle parked a few distance from us. My car. Not a hot rod or a new one. Just a simple car for a simple man. But was I about to let her in? She might be a bad person in disguise and this was some kind of a crazy modus operandi ran by syndicate: doll up a little girl, let her approach a man with car and ask him to give her ride through misty eyes. Before the victim knew it, he’d find himself drugged, left somewhere and robbed. The world was both seemingly harmless and sly at the same time. I fisted my car keys tightly in my pockets, as if guarding it.
And it would seem that humans were unconditionally sympathetic as well. Let thunder strike me for doing this.
I would expect that the silence would be slicing and suffocating. It was unusually comfortable, but not enough to let my guard down. I made to watch her through shifty eyes, making sure I was driving safely into the night while observing her and her attention outside the window. The outside was obscured with streetlights, faint sounds of honking and beeping.
I had to ask. I wanted to know. I needed to.
Any where. Just any where. With people. With music. With signs of life.
That… was almost poetic, it almost surprised me. I had with me a little odd girl with riddles all over her. Somehow I wanted to hear her speak more, to probably tell me the things in her mind? But, hmm, that might be a little intrusive of me. After all I was a stranger. And so was she. And we were together in the same space but clearly of different track of thoughts.
I think there’s a bazaar by the sea. With a huge Ferris Wheel up ahead. I think that’s a good place.
I made a smooth turn to the stoplight, revving up the engine towards a familiar crowd and place. I spent a lot of time there.
Grilled foods were everywhere. The scent of frying and boiling wafted into the air like beckoning hands to my hungry stomach. It was almost dinner time and the food stalls had growing crowds in them – families and friends together to eat. I was about to inquire her if she wanted to eat but I saw her looking intently at a group of boisterous people at the far end the aisle.
Uh, is there anything the matter?
She remained unfazed. But spoke soon after.
I don’t know. A moment I thought for certain would last a lifetime but started to be drifting away from me. No matter how kind I have been, I always get left behind.
She was, to put it lightly, looked almost almost fragile that I had to push her to a nearby bench to make her sit or else she’d break into a million pieces. I said nothing but listened when she began speaking again, her face towards the group of people again.
I must have once again invested my being to another, made it dependent. What was my strength was also my weakness. I remained to be the same, to be remembered as it is, but no matter what I do, how I made myself perfect for, I am left behind. Why… why is that?
Just looking at her made me feel the stings in her eyes, trying to hold back. It would seem she didn’t want to cry in front of stranger. But it would also seem she needed to cry nonetheless.
Are we… You are not talking about your boyfriend, are you?
Her face contorted.
No. Not a lover. It’s a bond that do not require the same amount of passion as lovers do.
I nodded to look like I understood. I was honestly loss in the waves of her enigma. But the thought struck me as I gazed back to the group of boys and girls together. She meant her companions, didn’t she?
Now I made myself lost in an island I created unconsciously. They are sailing away, to another world. And I am left with nothing but a good memory of the time and a crumpled heart. Everything changes: from the hour I woke up to the moment I sleep, today is different from yesterdays and tomorrow’s routine. I couldn’t blame anyone but myself for this. How conceited of me.
I knelt before her, and inquired.
Do you feel lonely, to see them go?
She bit her lips, drawing blood.
I am anxious to see the drift in-between. I wish I was made stronger to endure this awful feeling of… selfishness and loneliness. I am not the one to tantrum over a doll who I had been taking care a lot for be given to a better owner, better household. After all, I am just… a little girl. But…
She turned to me, finally letting out the dam.
..but I have been good. I made sure to be good. To be obedient. To be reliable and more. But why would it seem that I am the one who feels like I was the one tossed away, not needed anymore? Just… don’t leave me behind.
The cold night was biting into my fingers, keeping them curled in my palm as I watched her silent cry. For any comfort I could give, it was my attentiveness and muteness. The sky growled from the distance so I gestured to return to car, to shelter. It was getting late and I had with me a young girl who needed to be taken back to home.
And when I did, after her sniffled directions, that night, I didn’t see her again to the place where we first spoke. I didn’t even ask for her name.
But I prayed for good fortune and better tomorrow for her. She might be going through a rough time but it didn’t mean it wouldn’t pass.
I wished I told her that a little loneliness is good for a person who wants to understand himself more. Because it is only when one could speak to the self without any influences and voices of another. That perhaps when a good chapter ends, another better one begins – to continue on the story.
That would probably… my optimistic self speaking. I wished I told her that.