The hiding

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Chloe watched as her reflection in the window shifted, morphing her features into grotesque caricatures of lips, nose and eyes. A world of faces cycled before her, and one by one they faded into the next until the whole thing became a seething mass of movement. Looking out the window and staring at the rain. It seemed to work for the people she watched on TV. They’d stare at the rain for a while and after that things would start to pick up. By the end of the show everything was ok again.

It was hard to imagine everything being ok again, especially because she didn’t even know what was wrong in the first place. It was just a feeling. A dull ache. An emptiness. A weight that hung between her ribs. She tried to shake it off but it clung to her. She wanted to ask somebody about it but first she needed to find the words. How do you describe nothing? She turned away from the window and lightly fingered the piano that stood to her left, wishing she could play. Wishing she could sit at the stool, close her eyes, and play. She knew how to play, but not the way she wanted too. She knew tunes and songs but not how to really play, to put herself into the music and let it tear at her. She sat anyway, and slowly picked out her favourite tune. It felt good. She played it again. It felt better. She played it over and over until she heard the front door slam.

They were home. She listened to the sound of keys being placed on countertop, boots being placed by door. She listened to the rustling of their coats as they were removed and stowed away. She didn’t want them to know. They put so much value on her happiness, she couldn’t let them know. She opened the door and bounded out of the room to greet them. She smiled and chatted, hugged and kissed them, and went to bed.

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