Stuck in a room full of people

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “1984.”

I open the door and enter the room. Behind me, I hear the hinges turn and the locks click into place. Slowly my eyes adjust to the light and dimensions of the room and I see … everyone I’ve ever known and all the strangers I wish to avoid.

A room full of people. Looking at me. Following the red fingers as the creep up my neck, spread across my chest and come to rest in my moist armpits.

Expecting things, pointing, laughing, demanding, shrill, obnoxious people. Pouring over transcripts of every word I’ve ever uttered, highlighting the idiotic syllables and lies and pathetic whimpering that have grazed my lips.

A room full of people, saying hello. Making observations about my hair, clothes, body, face without make-up, age. Always the fucking age. No I’m not 12. Yes, I’m old enough to drink this.

Look, a room full of spiders or snakes or cockroaches would leave me screaming my head off until I passed out and the critters set up shop in my hair and air passages.

But a room full of people makes my eyes bleed into the thin layer of skin just above my cheeks. A room full of people makes my head thump and zing in my ears, my breasts feel the sting of inadequacy, my legs feel the numb futility of knowing that fleeing is not an option. My fingers are picked raw in a room full of people.

In a room full of people I am alone, melting away into a puddle of nothingness.

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