The curtains slowly bellowed with the sigh of an oncoming storm, filling the air with the clean scent of anticipated rain. Each time the heavy fabric moved, a blue panel of light would fall onto the floor and everything in the room would take on a silver hue. The breeze would subside, the curtain would fall back into place as sure as if it never moved, and the light would give way to darkness once more. Besides the gentle humming of the fan and the distant rumblings of thunder, everything was silent.
Each night, I lay in my daughter's bed. It is our ritual; I serve as some kind of comforting ferryman as she crosses the river from excitement to slumber. As she fades into sleep, I stare at the ceiling. I smell the breeze, watch the light move with the curtains. Though I will remain awake for hours, I am already dreaming.
I don't have many people in my life that truly care about me. It is a sad truth that most of my relationships are nothing but hallucinations, some vivid imagination that I superimpose over the most innocent words and actions of others. I imagine I'm much more important to people than I truly am, and sometimes the border between this colorful fantasy and my otherwise monochromatic reality gets blurred.
I recently had a transcendent moment in that gradient middle ground where two very different worlds collide. I was reminded that I am very small and insignificant, that my hallucinations were a side-effect of copious amounts of optimism and delusion. I wish I had someone to blame, some poor scapegoat to sacrifice to appease my silent tears, but there is only myself. I have created this outrageous expectation that I be treated with a modicum of respect, this unreachable standard that people only say what they mean and speak it with conviction. It is because I expect things that I am disappointed. There's a lesson to be learned there, but I will not learn it. I never do.
But in my new-found frailty, in my trifling gossamer reality that blows asunder with every gust of wind, there is that pale blue square of light that reveals the silver lining in every storm: Though I am no one to nearly everyone, I am everything to some.
As the rain starts to fall, I slowly rise and close the windows. My daughter is asleep at this point, and I'll sneak away for a moment of solitude before she realizes my absence in a few short hours. She'll wake up and call for me, and I'll be there. Just like I always am for anyone who needs me.