It’s easy, pretending to be one of them; so easy that sometimes I almost believe it myself. I rest my hands in my sweatshirt pocket, lacing my fingers together gently. My phone screen provides a smooth surface to run a finger over. The sensation is comforting, yet simple. In the crowd of the downtown farmer’s market, I see so many faces of so many people going about their days as normal. The overcast sky with the summer heat is perfect for the afternoon market. Some have dogs on leashes, dogs of all sizes and breeds. Others have strollers, and more are just walking with a friend or family member. I wish I had that.
Going to college was one of the biggest steps of my life. I left what society would call my “family” and headed off to an institution for higher education. The university advertises clubs and events as activities to make friends and build connections for better success in my career. They were nothing for me besides rejection and ridicule from my peers. Cold and apathetic numbness set in behind my eyes. It spread a heavy ache along my limbs and encouraged me to return to my hoodies. They comforted me through my childhood, so I guess it’s a security blanket of sorts.
Sometimes, I almost believe that I am one of them. I catch myself seeing the smiling faces of my peers and almost smiling back. I watch inside jokes get passed around and almost join in. Fake it ‘til you make it, I guess.