For as long as I can remember, I’ve kept people at an arm’s length. Even those closest to me didn’t belong anywhere nearer than as far as I could keep them without dragging them into the storm. Oh, and there was a storm. There always was a storm.
You see, when it came to hurricanes, there were only two ways to stay safe. The first was to be in the eye. The winds can never reach it, so if you ever found yourself in it, you could rest assured that you’d float there, unable to escape and yet, unharmed. That was me, on most days. The second was to stay as far away as you could. That was why everyone had to stay far enough.
I did let someone get close enough to see into it once. I allowed someone to gaze into the storm. I’m not sure what they saw, really, but I imagine they saw me as they’d never seen me before. I was suspended motionless as the winds picked up and paced around me, tearing everything I had so meticulously built.
You see, even in the middle, even if the winds don’t hurt you, you get exhausted. It isn’t easy because you have to be careful. An inch here, an inch there, and the winds might overwhelm you and sweep you away. I remember: they saw me, they didn’t like what they saw, and I raised my arm to stop them. The winds took me that day, and for weeks I floated amidst the pieces of everything I called life.
When the storm subsided, I was alone. No one was around. There were nothing but fragments. Everything hurt; getting up hurt the hardest. Eventually, I built everything again, knowing all too well that a storm would brew someday. I vowed never to let anyone get close enough to peek inside. It wasn’t just for them; it was for myself, too.
Until today, when I let someone in and, they peeked. I was about to raise my arm out of sheer reflex when I saw they kept looking at me with this look that I can’t yet understand. Then, they sat on the grass, knowing all too well that I’d not let the storm reach them. I stayed there, floating. The winds turned softer, and slowly, let me out. I fell to the ground. Nothing hurt.
The storm passed, the sky grew brighter, and I wasn’t alone. They weren’t too far away, either. I wasn’t alone.