The one who gets left behind

The one who gets left behind is fixated on the things he cannot change.

He knows this very fact and the inevitable events that will arise in time to come, and yet even with this knowledge, he is still incapable of conquering these hard truths.

The one who gets left behind finds it hard to move on. It takes days, weeks, months, years, and even after all that time has passed, he will still remember how he felt at that particular point in time — who, what, and why.

The one who gets left behind sees everyone else moving ahead, marching onward relentlessly as he tries to keep up. He sees clearly, the different paths that will diverge from the fork in the road and the ever-growing distance it will put between him and the others whose existences matter, and he is afraid. Afraid that they will forget him, that his existence will mean little in spite of whatever they have shared. He knows he will be the one unable to let go, forever attempting to seek closure. He is afraid that a day will come when they will recognise the magnitude of his fear and abandon the burden that will hinder their own progress, in the process turning it into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The one who gets left behind fears nighttime. Nighttime is thinking about all the things that have gone wrong. All the things that could go wrong. All the things that did go wrong. Sometimes, the light in the darkness saves him. One star, two stars, three, and then a whole bright, shining cluster comes into view. A constellation, he thinks. How wonderful. Am I the only one who notices?

The one who gets left behind is a worrier. The consequences are nearly always dire. If they are not, he is grateful. If they are, he only has himself to blame, one way or another.

The one who gets left behind tries really hard to put things behind him. In fact, he tries really really hard. Falling back into old habits is shameful. Doing worse than best is unacceptable. The one who gets left behind is a hypocrite who cannot believe his own words, but can spew them out easily, carelessly even, believable to those unable to discern fact from fiction. The one who gets left behind is truly his own worst critic.

Not all days are bad for the one who gets left behind. Sometimes, he makes progress in small increments: two small steps forward, one step back, but progress nonetheless. And for that period, that length of time alone, the one who gets left behind is contented, albeit foolishly so.

The one who gets left behind will feebly attempt to signal he is eating himself up, and when he goes unnoticed, he will regret trying. Instead, he will turn to his greatest confidante, ironically, himself, and will rely on his greatest skill of distraction to save himself. But ultimately, it will not be long before he reverts back to his old self.

He will, at the same time, know never to bother explaining anything to people who do not and will not ever get it. Harsh as it is, the one who gets left behind does not want to hear that it will be okay. The one who gets left behind wants to hear solutions, advice on the way forward, and acknowledgment of how far he has fallen behind. The one who gets left behind wants to hear a silent breath, see a swallow of the throat — anything that goes beyond the realm of indifference into one of concern and understanding.

The one who gets left behind wishes that the others who have fallen alongside him will also magically fall into his life so that they will be able to understand each other over their shared silence.

In the game of life, the one who gets left behind, loses.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.