The storm moved in so quickly. The dark clouds made their way back in just as fastĀ as they subsided. I should have known their absence would only be temporary.

The shadows stretch out, filling a vast expanse, tainting everything. Nothing is left untouched. “No, not again,” I tell the darkness, but my words can’t hold back the heaviness, can’t stop the emptiness from filling the space around me, inside me.

The numbness consumes so rapidly and this time I don’t try to fight back. I sit and feel as it eats away. Resistance feels futile, and hope, vain. Maybe this is just how things are meant to be.

“You’re happy, aren’t you?”

I nod my head. The deception is tangible, magnificent. No one has to know. No one has to feel. Comfort is found in knowing that this doesn’t have to touch anyone else. I let myself move inward. My arms stretched out to keep the distance safe.

My best-kept secret remains in-tact, but my heart fails to follow suit. Pain peels layers and layers away until nothing is left but a shell of what used to be. Yet the shell is so beautiful. You could never tell. No one could ever tell.