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You once asked me to pray for you to get you out of hell. I’ve been doing that in between the silence of the lonely moments, when I pass an orange cat, or when I see the orange sash somewhere in a painting. – Mingjie Zhai


Fiction. Based on a true loneliness.

By Bry LeBerthon

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.

The air is heavy with humidity, the sky gray and weighted with clouds, and, slowly, you are coming home.
Meandering your way through city streets, testing your navigation skills and patience.
Here, you are invisible. Surrounded by people, and more alone than you could ever feel sitting in your room. You are meditating, and you are everywhere.
You can’t help but wonder if she would have liked that necklace. If she would have thought that dress looked good on you. You decide to try both on, and, looking in the mirror, you reach for her, wherever she is. You ask yourself how she feels. You realize, with dawning horror, that you don’t know. You notice that you don’t care.
She is still watching. In every window, mirror, glass. It’s like she’s walking with you, and you’re almost comforted. She would fawn over dogs, and take pictures of the sky. You try it all. The photos come out wrong.
You try again, ducking into a small shop that is empty and clean and air conditioned. You try on vintage clothes that cost more than your whole bank account, twirling in the mirror, self-satisfied when they fit you. You snap a picture and return the outfits gently to the shelf.
You hold up glittery, ugly, obnoxious earrings to your ears, grinning at her in the mirror. She smiles nervously back, hardly meeting your gaze. You decide that you love them, and buy them on the spot. When you walk out of the store, they ring with every step.
You buy yourself a donut, a lemonade, a cake. You eat it all.
Rain falls and you do not cover up.
Her song plays and you quietly hum along.
You continue walking home and glance into a window. The sun sets, and you are finally alone.

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