I’ve always been afraid of girls. Ever since April threw away the buttercup I’d hidden in her desk. She said I was gross when my friends told her it was me. The whole class laughed, and I can hear that laughter now like it was yesterday. That was over twenty years ago.
That isn’t true though, about always being afraid. I tried again and again and again. When I was twenty I fell in love. We lived together, I thought I’d finally met the love of my life. She said she loved me too. After a while though, she stopped talking to me. She pulled away, and nothing I could do brought her back. It was hell, lying in bed next to her every night. Silence. Eventually I broke, I couldn’t take it any more. She was miserable and I let her go. I thought I couldn’t cry anymore. I was wrong.
Since then, I’ve shut everyone out. A few of my friends have held on tight enough that I spend a few hours with them once a month. After a few years I reconnected with my family. You’d think living with them I wouldn’t be able to shut them out, but I did. In my room where no one could see me or hear me, my fortress of solitude.
I finished college, I even tried dating once or twice. I don’t care anymore though, it always ends in pain. I won’t talk to a girl I don’t know. Hell I won’t talk to anyone I don’t have a good reason to.
She makes eye contact across the room, and every thing I am wants to walk over and talk to her. I don’t though. She’ll just reject me, I won’t have anything to talk about. Even if we go out she won’t answer my calls after a few dates, and if it does she’ll break up with me eventually. Worst case, she’ll wait till we get married and take half of all these things I don’t actually own.
I tell myself relationships don’t work. That I’m unlovable, that they’ll always cheat, that they’ll always leave, and I’d be better off alone in my room, my fortress of solitude.
I’m working on it. Some days are better than others. I’ve even made a few friends recently, although all I want to do is pull away again. It’s work not to lock that door, but I know. My fortress, it’s my prison.