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You can be alone, if you'd like.

Cassidy knew her plan was working when a month had passed without her having received a single invitation. No more meeting after work for drinks, no friend of a friend performing in any basements or garages, no shared cigarettes with coffee on Sunday mornings. At long last, the anxieties which had long plagued her faded. Her phone lay silent, and with a grim satisfaction she reflected on her success, the fears which once gripped her at the phone’s buzz no longer a risk. She’d tried putting the phone away, but she’d then live in a malignant panic, haunted by the idea of missing out, hyper-conscious of second spent solitary as yet another tally mark towards the ever-increasing percentage of her life which she will never have returned to her, and has now wasted forever. So she attended, a slave to that buzz, dragged ever onward by the kindly intentions of friends and would-be lovers.

There was only one thing to do. She had, many months ago, determined to deracinate herself, whittled her social existence away party by party (and party by party), and by the terribly drawn pace she set convincing those around her by degrees that she was no different from yesterday, that nothing had changed, that there was no need to check up, check in, or check on her, and by allowing less of herself to pour from her drunken mouth with each get-together, she succeeded in willing herself into the backdrop of even her most dedicated friendships. She’d begun to believe her skin had come to resemble the wallpaper of the room they drank in; quick eyes which had once relished settling upon her, ready for her expressions, now merely slipped past, recognition barely flickering. The background suited her, she felt, and watched the conversation-circle she sat in as would a microbe, or a god, both considering universes which depended upon physics which would not comprehend the notion of a converstion-circle. She stood and made her way from the room, then the party, without a word to or from her. She thought that the photos taken that night might find a smudgy-Cassidy shape where once she had smiled and, gripping her fully charged phone with knuckles white, she let herself be swallowed by the inky night.