It’s that slow pressure tightening around your chest, making you feel as if you’re sinking. It’s the feeling of loneliness, the realization that your life has mostly been a waste right up to this point. People don’t like you that much, you fill that room they need, somewhere between acquaintance and work-mate, not far above strangers, but far from friends. Even in your own family, you’re more a distant cousin than a brother or sister. You sit in the corner and watch them whizz by, they’re laughing, flitting in and out of your gaze as if watching them in fast forward. It has a touch of high school about it. There’s a popularity contest going on beneath the surface, they jostle for position, who will be the top dog, and who will stretch their neck out to have it stood on, to let their favourite candidate reach the stars. They never even gave you a proper fucking chance.
I remember catching sight of someone across a crowded fair. She was my friend, well, a so called mate’s little sister. The only person who ever seemed to show more than a passing interest, not the usual person just looking for what they could get out of me. So yeah, I guess I had a bit of a crush on her, or maybe I just liked her for liking me, So I ran over to say hi, but when I got behind her and tapped her on the shoulder, she whirled around and it wasn’t her anymore. It was some girl who gave me a slack jawed expression, called me a creep and told me to piss off. I bought myself a drink and sat by the wire fence around the fair, picking the rocks out of the dry dusty dirt and skimming them across the road. I thought I saw her again, going to cross the road down further. I wanted to call out to her, but remembering the earlier mistake kept quiet. The next thing I remember was the screech of tyres and the sound of a half full can of coke rolling slowly down the road. It made the strangest noise.