By Amandla Karungi

I sat in a fortress of solitude, even though around me sat waves and waves of souls. It was a gaping hole and no one could catch me. I had run out of my social fuel. Uphill, I pushed my little car whose engine had turned red. I must have run out last Friday. I ran on, drained from hollow conversations with people whom, now that I know them, I wish I hadn’t. The promise of what I hoped they were was nothing but an illusion. They drone on and on, their thoughts and words abrasive and sometimes, too weightless to lift me.

But this is a better crowd than the one I once ran into. There was a time there was not even a breath near me that wasn’t mine. A sea of self-absorbed people who wanted to be left alone to their real and imagined pain. I never wanted to be one of them. I just wanted to be human. And now, even though my smiles and responses need a refill, at least there is someone to call out my name when I’m walking away from the crowd.

Yet today I needed solitude. Undressed, my armour and shield laying beside me, I turned my head to one side and pressed my fingers into the side of my neck because that is where the pressure goes, for all those times I want to fall but there is no one to catch me, when I wanted to scream today but no one would get it. I only reserve my bad days for you. I always say to myself, You are the only the one with whom I can be truly bad with. And because you have accepted the worst of me, I have given you all of me.