Shaken but alive, she didn't look back as she walked away. It wasn't a cowardly walk, it wasn't a proud strut, but somewhere in the middle along the broad spectrum of confidence levels. She didn't pay attention to it, she didn't feel the need to make herself feel self conscious, she simply did things the way she had always done them since the accident.

She tried to blend in, to hide herself in normality, but things are always harder than expected. Not drawing attention to herself was a skill, it needed to be developed, and she was working on it. It's hard for someone to disappear, however, if they used to standing out. She was a pretty girl, a girl some could be jelous of. A round delicate face with whisps of strawberry blonde hair giving her a softeneing look. When she used to laugh, her usually pink face gave off a glowing effect, the sound filling the room with pure joy. It wasn't a forced happiness, but nothing stays forever. Her build was petite, but not flimsy and she valued muscle over thin nothingness any day. Yes, she was pretty and while most considered that a blessing, she considered it a curse. It was one of the things that made her different, and as far as she knew, it was an attraction thing, so she kept her thoughts to herself. She couldn't hide if she was well looked at and unique, and while some things are inevitable, she did her best by wearing basic colors that never veered far from gray, erasing the memory of colors and smiles from the people that knew her and replacing them with nothing.

As she walked, her heart slowed and her head wandered as it usually did when she was alone. She didn't want to think about him, she didn't want to let her thoughts travel to places they shouldn't travel, and any chance of getting her hopes up were a bad thing because she knew all too well he would let her down.

Instead, she thought of feeling. She could feel the pressure of her grey-blue blouse resting daintily on her shoulders, the friction of her thighs rubbing together beneath her constraining drab jeans.The days of color were filled with shorts and skirts, but freedom was a dangerous thing, and not to be risked. She could feel her laces flopping around over her black shoes and the vibrations of her feet hitting the sidewalk with a slight urgency. Wind tugged at her hair, and she felt the cool metal of thin dangling earrings brush against her neck, reminding her of a soft touch. She could live with the slight satisfaction of touch by a cool thin metal, but what she really wanted was the touch of some caring person. When was the last time she had someone care, touch her shoulder reassuringly? She thought back to before the accident absintmindidly. Someone to wipe her tears, to hold her hand,  to brush across her neck in ways that metal simply couldn't do.

She passed a boy her age whose eyes glazed over her, then did a double take. She cringed a bit from habit, slumping to make herself smaller, and moved a faster pace, just from habit. But this time she noticed it. If it were back in the color days, she would have smiled and laughed, and perhaps made a joke or said hi. For the first time in a long time, she wished she were that girl again, and it struck her how much she had changed.

There were times in the color days she was afraid to be alone, afraid it would dictate her to be an outcast, a person with no love. Now she appriciated solitude, it was the best time to think, to understand herself. She had grown from silence.

But now as she walked, she contimplated whether it that was the best thing. She missed being held, missed the reassuring arm around her waist and surrounding laughter that made a soothing background noice. 

Her mom always said as a child, her mother always carried her around on her hip, always in contact, never leaving her side, but  by the time she was born, plastic mechoniszms had been invented to take the labor off the mother, and the child in turn had less physical contact, less love.

Now she wanted love, wanted comfort. She missed what she had always taken for granted. But most of all, she missed people who cared. Ones filled with compassion and honesty and friendship. As she thought, she continued down the road, alone. The only difference was the tear trickling down her cheeks, but otherwise, she was the same.

The End

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