you wake up when the sun sets and you walk to the mailbox drenched with yesterday’s sweat on your skin and grease on your hair. and all the little children down the street look at you. the only time the children see you is when you’re smoking on your balcony or taking your beer bottles to the trash can. you brag to your friends about having not eaten, and you have others laugh with you about it. people call you to ask you to go to lunch, you lie and say you already have plans with some other friends. you always go to restaurants alone and write thank you notes with smiles to the waiters because it’s the only form of connection you feel comfortable with. you try to find new ways to escape yourself. the home won’t do. the beer is strangely keeping you where you are. you’re unfaithful to all the books you’re supposed to read. being around people only accentuate how uncomfortable you really are. you go for a drive to try and find some semblance, and you cry. you never mean to, but that’s what always happens. and it’s an awful thing, it surely is an awful thing when you’re at the stoplight and the other driver sees you crying, and you want to tell him not to worry, but what you really want to say is that you’re sorry they have to see this. you come home and write some words strung with sad adjectives and call it poetry. the new year rolls around and you’re still 21, but you feel 60. your heart feels sore. and you swear you’ll never fall in love. you kiss the boys who don’t matter, and never the ones that do. you don’t allow them to grow close to you because it’s safer for them. you attract connection as much as you repel it. and you don’t care. you have your leftover cigarette butts to prove it. you buy drinks for everyone but you reject other people’s offers. you always look up or down but never straight ahead. someone at a club once asked you about this. you didn’t respond. your mom calls and you tell her you are doing fine. you talk to your brother and you realize no one can alleviate the pain. you can’t put yourself together so you avoid everyone. you let the phone go to voicemail but you keep in touch with everyone through text so no one worries. you trust the ones who don’t care if you never come back. you have a whole case of wine to yourself, again, and it’s somehow not enough. and so this is what you do. this is what you do all day long. you waste time by destroying yourself. you want to tell somebody you’ve made a lifetime out of feeling lost. someone once told you that you’re tormented by yourself, that your inner battle is like a pure darkness, and she told you it was mesmerizing because it reminded her of aurora borealis. you think it’s beautiful too, but you don’t say anything further. because you know once you share anything about yourself to someone, you start to miss them. you know people only come so they can leave. you don’t allow people to love you. you romanticize your life and people and fictional characters and you call it love. you are homesick for a home you never had. you don’t know if you will ever be brave enough to reach out your hand. you don’t know if that’s what you really want. you feel like road construction during traffic hour, and so you turned yourself into an open freeway at 2am. but then you sobered up. and you call this your so-called life. you tell yourself this is everything you’ve wanted.