I used to have my parents. My mother would sit with me at the bus stop. She would meet me when the bus dropped me off. She slept in my room. I think that’s why dad left. She never said it was my fault, but I knew. When she died, I was lost. I’d spend all day at the grocery store or the mall. At night, I’d cry myself to sleep.

Now, I spend my days in coffee shops doing menial tasks from online job boards to get by. At night, I’ll buy a drink and nurse it at the local bar until closing time.

Then, I discovered midnight basketball, Denny’s and all-night churches. I don’t think the priests like me much. I never had much use for religion, but at least now I’m not alone. When I can’t keep my eyes open, I take two Tylenol PM and crash.

I’ve never lost my fear. I still can’t be alone for more than a few minutes at a time. I cope. I get through the days. Some days, I think I’m getting better and I’ll go home and sit alone in the quiet until my hands start shaking. It’s not getting better, but I’m coping.

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