Je Suis

Amidst the crowd of millions stood one person. Ignored by those around them their anonymity cut deep. Not that the others weren’t equally blacked out within the mass, it was grey day after all. And they’d not gathered for each other, not as individuals at least. They’d simply come seeking the pure warmth of a human crush. To stand shoulder to shoulder, almost child like, a communal cry for a mother’s arms. Not as thought or intent but simply to survive another day where the world offered little that wasn’t borne on the shoulders of others.

But for that one person it wasn’t enough. They’d come for the same reason, making their way through the winter cold and ice to join the throng but now that just seemed like a futile effort. This person wanted more, real arms to hold them, real warmth to smother them, not the shared proximity the others were willing to accept as comforting artificial replacement. What the one person wanted was ignored though. Not just by blind neighbours enraptured by the unfixed sights ahead of them but by a sea of bodies, senses indifferent to the beating of an isolated heart in their depths.

They dug elbow in deep, attempting to jar those around them from their comfortable revelry but failing in the effort. The rest were unmoved. Shouting came next, random words to break the hypnosis of the mass as they came quickly to resent their lack of a place in it. If people heard, they paid no attention. Why would they? The millions offered more warmth than the discomfort the one could muster. But the cries grew louder nonetheless, until spittle flew from that one persons lips and the meaningless noise had turned to fiery invective. Fiery invective which gave no new life to the one offering it, simply fuelling their own personal cold with a chilling blue flame.

Next came the blows. A fist first, then a boot. Violence to break the calm, toppling individuals and drawing blood. But the mass of humanity was too dense. While some shook the rest closed in around them, swallowing up the force of the blows and dissipating it to nothing. More yells now, more rage against the frost filled night. Different now though, no longer an angry plea but a malicious attack on the density of life around that one person. It had grown stifling, clogging their lungs with imagined heat but still giving no comfort. The millions paid no attention, fixed in place by their collective existence. The one was still ignored, the rest still had nothing to offer but for what they already shared.

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