Flash of a camera goes off and I rush into the shadows, because the picture will look all wrong if I am in it. Conversations circle my head aimlessly, all connected by a single thread that has slipped from my grasp. A game of cards that I watch from the sidelines. Memories are made in front of me and I cannot have a slice of them—they are not mine. I was there, but they are not mine. Because you smile when I wave and I laugh at jokes that I don’t fully understand and we complain, compliment, communicate, but you are a stranger to me. I am a stranger to you. You, polished jade stone in vicious waters, yet the waves yield to you and your iridescence and all of your beautiful stone companions. I am a pebble who gets caught in the tide, too desolate to swim back to shore, too afraid to join you in the deep. I cannot stop fighting the current. There is no hope for me if I do, for I will sink, settle on the sandy floor with my back arched and my hands shaking and join my fellow forsaken, solidified into a gritty brick of aching bones and broken spirits. I will no longer be your burden. I will be something you do not bother to look at twice. You will float above me with nothing to haunt you. But even as I am fighting the current all my life I am still dissolving bit by bit. As though I am destined to fade away no matter how hard I try to stay.