The air is stagnant with thoughtless words that settle in cracks and crevices once spoken by the majority. I am silent, reluctant to contribute to the stale socializing, while hating myself for my mute pride. I am a writer with a pen, but not the first word, cursed to repeat the cycle the next time a shallow smile asks me a question it doesn't actually want the answer to. I am quick to surround myself with distractions, just as quick to tire of them. Inside jokes become old, discovery expires, and attraction weans. The game is to throw the ball high enough to catch it myself, far enough for a challenge, and with a look of contentment so that the crowd wants to try. It's an act of juggling pride and boredom, of reading myself and deciding which of the two to sacrifice today. Nothing grand. Just a moment of standing before a playground and wondering how long I can pretend to enjoy myself there.
Yet when I meet another with their pride in tact and the refreshing originality that adds color to repetition and accelerates time with wit, I open my fist to find I have no worthy contribution, that I have become the majority, and that I have nothing with which to win approval. Their input is gold, their attention coveted, and their fun grander than my own. Suddenly, I'm the one on the playground swingset wondering if I can join this stranger's magnificent game of throw and catch and I find with horror that the stale words in the air are mine. Because I've repeated the cycle. All I have is one question for the stranger, and unfortunately, I don't actually want the answer.