His body was trembling, his mind was numb, but he attempted to give off the outward appearance of perfect normality. It seemed to be working. He munched on some food and half-listened to the conversation going on around him. And slowly the numbness wore off, as if his mind and soul were beginning to thaw after a long, awful night in the cold. . . .
It would have been far better to have stayed away from her. Loneliness over a distance was much easier to deal with than this. This awful feeling of being close enough to touch but further away than he had ever been from all the people he never knew. The sad silence in the presence of both others' happiness and the one he had always imagined would be the source of the greatest happiness he could feel, was becoming unbearable. He used to be able to receive so much joy from just a simple glance at her, while she sat unaware of the happiness she created. Now he looked everywhere but at her. Now that simple glance he had once enjoyed brought him nothing but a feeling of frustration that was of a magnitude he had never known before. And again the laughter of those ahead of him jarred in his brain. The unlooked for, unappreciated, and perhaps unwanted companionship and happiness these other two now had, created by some magician out of nowhere in notime, was an irony he could not appreciate. Instead, the unfairness of it all drove him deeper into a self-made gloom. He looked over at her one more time, tried to speak, but nothing came out. She continued to walk straight ahead, without ever a single glance towards him. No, this loneliness of walking right next to her was far, far worse. . . .
The emptiness surrounded him and stabbed at his soul. He paced and walked and got some water and strolled and jumped on the bed and rolled over and sat up. And still the silence raged on. He turned on some music and listened. The rhythm, beat, harmony; the sounds that had always comforted his mind and held him together through his roughest moments of bittersweet agony had turned into a disarray of chaotic discord, screeching at him, tearing at his nerves, attacking his existence. He stared out the window, and looked down. He nodded his head a few times, banging it against the window. He walked back and hit the bedpost. His conscious mind was completely turned off. He could not think. He only knew he wanted it to stop. The deafening, piercing static that was decaying his mind and soul in the silent room. He wanted it to stop. The futility of his every action, every move he made, every move he had ever made. He wanted it to stop. He wanted it to all go away. It had to stop.
In a last, desperate act, he grabbed at the door. He walked out of the room and headed towards the elevator, where he caught up with his friends and they went downstairs together. And slowly their presence thawed him out. . . .