I grew up feeling like an outcast. It wasn't necessarily a true observation, but nobody really cared enough to help me see that until it was too late.
The weather has dropped quite suddenly this week. Though its already the middle of April, our account of time does not always align with nature. Sometimes, she must hack and cough the last bits of frost from her throat.
Passing by the alley near to the Midnight Pub, you notice a group of opossums huddled by a fire. They look tired, gnawing on freshly thawed clovers. Their eyes seem deeper as they stare into the flame.
One opossum is disconnected from the group, hidden away behind the shadows. She shivers, holding as still as possible.
You feel a sense of pity and take your scarf off your neck. You wrap it gently around her, and prompt her to speak,
Thank you for the blanket. I have difficulty in relation, and they won't let me join the fire.
Community is essential to developement. You learn social cues and behavior. What is right, what is wrong, and what gets you a nervous laugh. So much to take note of you must keep it in your muscles lest you overload your system. If you missed any lessons in conversation, there can be difficulties.
I had troubles understanding people. Opossums are not the most social animals, but we do rely on each other quite a bit for expectations. I spent a lot of time alone, apart from other opossums in my temporary youth. I did not learn how to function nor how to control my presentation.
I was untouchable. I used to be labeled that way under the moon. When I wept alone in the tall grass, I waited and watched the bonfires in the plaines. I could hardly make out their dark shapes against the flames, licking their cheeks like an eager dog. Barking smoke into the sky as a signal. We prayed to the same moon goddess. We both wanted to go home.
Yet I could not join.
I was only let in when I changed my coat. I stopped carrying a hatchet in my hand and voice. I made them laugh so hard they coudldn't breath, and I filled their hearts between each breath. I danced higher than the fire and told stories through the mist of my time in the grass.
The tales were full of vitality, but the only thing I dreamed of in the fields was my demise.
I am still untouchable in my personal life, though. Now, they put me on a pedestal for my experience and my word. They don't understand, so they believe I must know something they don't. Mysterious is that human word. I am wedged again between bricks. To climb up or slip below, is the question.
They made a house for me out of stone bricks, with an accidental window. I climbed into the soft moss bed inside, and they looked inside me. Their eyes peeked upon my tears. When they asked me simple questions, I could not answer. When we packed up the next morning and took the first piece of drift-wood that strolled down the river home, we did not speak of who was left behind.
Human community is the same, though it pretends to be both below and above such actions.
We do not kill where I'm from. We simply pick apart the dead and take them with us. A toe to his acquantance, who claims he was his best friend to drink with. A leg to his friend, who boasts how far they ran together. His neck to his sister, who wished to hear the stringing of his vocal cords again. His mother just cradled his head in her lap, praying.
Perhaps humans are not so different in how you extort the dead to prove your commitment.
I pointed this out to my peers. How we only cry for someone when they can never see us. They were offended, cried out loud how dare I, how dare I speak ill of the dead. The walls are breaking down because of me.
But was it not the very same people so eager to include the dead that had cast me off to the tall grass before?
Consensus: Our response is reliant on whose eyes are upon us.
Question: Have you ever felt like an outcast? Was it a true observation or just your perception?