BRO­KEN GLASS

Pasatiempo - - RANDOM ACTS - [ BY AL­LI­SON THOMP­SON] AGE EIGH­TEEN

EVER SINCE I WAS BORN,

I have been sep­a­rated from oth­ers by a wall. It is a glass wall, a one-way mirror, where I can see oth­ers but they can­not see me. Ever since I can re­mem­ber, I had no need to break down the wall. I hap­pily lived in soli­tude, with not a care in the world. No one could see me, so I sim­ply ig­nored the fact that I could see them and just looked down and paid at­ten­tion to what­ever I hap­pened to be do­ing. As the years went by, I heard the peo­ple on the other side of the wall pound­ing on the glass, won­der­ing if any­one was in­side. I did not like it. I was per­fectly happy where I was and it upset me that they were try­ing to take that away from me. I tried to ig­nore the pound­ing for years un­til one day it just went away. I lived on in peace for a while, happy as could be. But I slowly started to look up and watch the peo­ple that I could see on the other side. They were al­ways laugh­ing, cry­ing, and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with other peo­ple. I did not un­der­stand it. Some­thing that com­pli­cated was be­yond me. I started to re­al­ize that there was some­thing wrong. I was not sup­posed to be alone. I didn’t un­der­stand why I couldn’t be on the other side of the wall, laugh­ing and cry­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with other peo­ple like every­one else. I started pound­ing on the glass, beg­ging for some­one to pay at­ten­tion to me. But it was no use. No one could see or hear me. I de­cided I wanted to tear down that wall more than any­thing. Bit by bit, the tini­est of shards would break from the wall, ag­o­niz­ingly slowly mak­ing a cav­ity in the thick wall. Even­tu­ally, the crater is

chipped thin enough to make the glass slightly trans­par­ent. A few peo­ple turn to look at me. They pay at­ten­tion to me. I don’t like it. I’m not used to it. More than any­thing, I want to hide and for them to stop look­ing at me. But I don’t. I thought of how happy they looked when they were with oth­ers. I wanted to be like that, too. So I let them look at me. I watched as they all gath­ered around me, and I let them all take turns smash­ing through the nowthin wall. They reached to­ward me, pulled me out of the wall. Now I know what it felt like, be­ing on the other side of the wall. It was won­der­ful, and I felt I had been miss­ing out on this my whole life. But I was still not one of them. My hands were scarred from years of pick­ing at that wall. I had shards of glass in my hair. I may have looked like one of them, but on the in­side I would never be one of them. I didn’t un­der­stand what it was like to know the emo­tions and feel­ings of oth­ers, and to feel those things for my­self. I would never un­der­stand, and I knew this. And yet I let them tear down that wall, and I let them help me out of it. I knew I would never fit in, but it didn’t upset me. All the years of iso­la­tion had made me in­de­pen­dent. And I was no longer iso­lated.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.