Protected

My gymnasium had a sort of end-of-the-year party a few months ago. This is what I wrote in my journal the following day.

I miss my friends.

It’s always strange to go to a party, especially when I’m feeling so… fragile. Volatile. I kept needing to go off and be alone. What I really needed was silence, but I couldn’t find that, so I just fled to the most solitary places I could find. My friends kept asking if I was well, but it was nothing physical. The worst I had in that area was a headache, and it wasn’t really the problem.

At one point I put my head on Ripple’s shoulder and closed my eyes for a while. A bit later I put my head on the table and did the same.

Suddenly I felt a hand on my hair – Indigo, next to me. Then another – Ripple? – and a third – Crash, from across the table. I looked up and blinked in slight bewilderment at them; they all smiled back, half sheepish and half amused.

I put my head back down on the table and mused on the strange and unfamiliar feeling of being the one who is protected, who is small. No one has ever felt that way about me before unless I’d made them feel it – deliberately manipulated them into thinking so, and in the process hidden away a large part of who I am. (There’s family, of course, but that’s different.) I’ve always been the strong one – if not always the protector, then at least one who does not need protecting. I’ve never been the protected to anyone who actually knew me through and through.

It was strange, but I decided that it was also rather nice. These are people who know me, who know that I am strong but will allow me to be weak sometimes. Or maybe it’s really the other way around and I only think I’m strong. Either way, they know who I am and they want to protect me, without ever asking that I be anything but myself.

Strange, but nice.

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