‘Twas a night of soft lights, stories and songs.

Cosy setting. Romantic even.

Yet, there was a crowd. Unfamiliar faces.

He gazed at them, picking out one face from another. The roomful of strangers unsettled him.

Every word he said tonight, none of them came close in articulating the thoughts he had and the emotions that swirled in his heart. He felt detached from himself. It wasn’t pleasant, but the show must go on.

Despite all of that, his mind wasn’t the least silent. In fact, it tossed out one thought after another in quick succession.

“Did you see that guy at the corner with his gal?” his mind barked.

A comparison was drawn.

“How about the bouquet of roses? It’s more than 16 years of love!”

Something tugged at him.

“Look at their smiles. When was the last time you really smiled like that?”

They went on and off in his head. As the night progressed, he felt out of place. He became more self-conscious. He could relate to the guy at the mic who was talking about the ridicule inflicted upon him for being fat when he was a child.

In one unexpected moment, he caught a reflection of himself on the glass pane. Thankfully, the reflection was only from his neck down; he was spared that ghastly looking face staring back at him. Yet, he knew there was something so very wrong and instinctively, he moved away to avoid being seen … by himself.

Somewhere, a still, small and clear voice came on – a piece of unsolicited ridicule followed by a snigger.

There was nothing he could drown it out with.

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