Fiction Story Excerpt
As night falls draping its solemn darkness upon the earth like a heavy winter blanket, she curls into a tiny ball in the corner of her bed expecting their arrival. Hands locked tightly around her knees, holding them close to her chest. Eyes open wide, fighting the need for sleep they will never receive. Shadowy figures emerge from the depths to take their rightful places among the living. They surround her. The air chilled by their presence; she tightens her grip, hoping to become small enough to disappear so they will not find her again.
It never works. Wherever she is, whatever she does, they find her.
End Story Excerpt
I used to dream about how nice it would be living away from people, not having to interact with anyone and just living my life. But I still live in a neighborhood surrounded by people. I don’t have to worry about knocks on the door or getting cornered in the driveway for neighborly chats anymore. It just doesn’t happen. And it feels weird.
Every time I go somewhere I get all done up in my bank heist gear (face mask – required in all public spaces in Pennsylvania, page 2 section 2), do what I need to do and quickly return to my car to sanitize and de-mask. No loitering. No chatty small talk. Nothing.
And sure, I used to find that sort of pressure frustratingly annoying. But now, now I think I’m craving that. No one to smile at, no one smiles back. If you do, I can’t see it behind your mask, just like you can’t see it behind mine. It feels cold and distant.
I guess that’s the point of social distancing–it’s right there in the phrase: distant.
Who knew? The absence of those simple little gestures I’ve taken for granted my entire life are having such a negative impact. Which only goes to show how innately social the human race is at its core.
Even for those of us who have always been a little socially awkward and struggle with all those social cues that seem to come so naturally to everyone else.
Yeah, COVID, ya got me. Social distancing is hard. It’s lonely. It’s stressful.
And we’re only just beginning….
Resources & Crisis Hotlines:
- Crisis Text Line: US and Canada: text 741741 | UK: text 85258 | Ireland: text 50808
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or Live Online Chat | TTY: 1-800-799-4889
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: Call 800-656-HOPE (4673) or Online Hotline
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 800-799-SAFE (7233)
- NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness): 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or firstname.lastname@example.org
- IMAlive: Online Chat
- SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline: 1-877-SAMHSA7 (726-4727)
- National USA Substance Use Disorder Treatment Locator
*A dedicated resource page is under development. Have suggestions for it? Please contact me with the details and I will check it out. Resource topics of primary interest include: counseling and treatment, mental health, suicide prevention, substance abuse, victim rights, domestic violence, and rape and sexual abuse.