Black Tar

March 21, 2018

It descended quickly, from nowhere, and then it seemed to be everywhere, encapsulating how she perceived every thought, every word and every movement.

            They only sat with her because they knew her from before they had class together. They only talked to her because she was sitting next to them.

            Look, she has her back turned to me. They’re talking without me. They don’t really want me in their conversations. Why do they feel an obligation towards me? They should just sit without me like they want to. I know they want to. Why would they want to sit with me anyway?

            It descended quickly, separating her from everyone else. It coated everything in a thick black tar. Everything became distorted.

            They’re not really my friends. Why do they keep acting like my friends? They only act like my friends, but they treat me differently. They leave me out of jokes and invitations. I’m only invited if they’re talking about something and it would be rude not to invite me.

            I wish this class would end. Why does he keep talking?

            They were now foreign objects. They didn’t seem like the loving people she had thought them to be. Their laughs all seemed maniacal, their jokes seemed to be making fun of her and their smiles were jarring.

            She said she was going in a different direction and walked slowly behind them as they walked in front of her. They danced around and sang with each other. Black tar oozed from her feet and slowed her steps. It held her arms down and made her muscles ache when they tried to work against it. She felt it in her head and on her face as she tried to run her fingers through her hair. Black tar, black tar, black tar.

            Collapsing onto her bed when she got home there was a small relief as the weight of the tar was off of her body briefly, but the black tar settled in and around her, making itself comfortable. It settled into the very creases of her sheets, into the pores of her skin and in the spaces between her teeth. The tar consumed her eyes and poured itself down her cheeks.

            Why can’t I keep friends? Why didn’t I just smile along with them? Why didn’t I try to contribute to the conversation more? Moping around isn’t the way to make people like you more, don’t you know that? Why can’t you do that? Why can’t you try harder with people?

            Black tar, black tar, black tar.

            Emerging from the bed of black she moved slowly, a little lighter, ready to be better, ready to contribute more with people. She encountered her roommate in the kitchen.

            “Hey! How was your class?” Her roommate smiled as she tried to find something to eat.

            She heaved and breathed, raised her chest and pushed against the weight against her. Some strength. “Good.” Her voice was faint, coming from behind a mound.

            It was good. Convince yourself it was good. Why can’t you be more positive about things? If you were more positive about your life you wouldn’t be so unhappy all the time, would you?

            I guess not. Maybe I should be more positive.

            You should. I don’t know why you aren’t. Strong people are always positive. Why are you so weak?

            I’m trying my hardest. There’s just so much.

            So much, what? Everyone has a lot to deal with. Why can’t you deal the way the rest of them can?

I’m trying.

We all try. And why didn’t you ask her about her class, why are you so selfish? It’s not always about you.

I know. I’m sorry.

Pull yourself together. You have things to do.

            “I think I’m going to go to the library. I have things to do.” Her sentence was seeped with black.

            “Okay! See you when you get back.” Her friend grabbed a snack and darted back to her bed of feathers.

            Now go, get something done. Don’t sit in bed with me all day. It’ll be an entire waste of a day if you don’t get something done. You wonder why you’re stressed all the time, it’s because you need to use your time more effectively. You should be taking advantage of every second, don’t you see that?

            You’re right, but I’m going now. We’re on our way.

            You took too long. Why were you in bed for so long?

            I just needed to rest. I need to rest sometimes. I need to breathe. I can’t breathe.

            Yes, you can, stop being so dramatic. You’re fine.

            It’s you. I can’t breathe.

            Yes. You. Can.

            Black tar flowed from her lips.

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