There's this girl I know and she's crying. Her tears are real, as is her pain. Something just happened to her, and it's dug up so much emotion that she feels compelled to cry, because crying is the only way she knows of making the pain stop again. She's not alone; there's a group of us around, but none of us quite what to say. We're no help whatsoever.
Eventually one guy decides to go on over and support her. He stands there and embraces the girl, and gently tries calming her down again. It takes a while, but it works. The girl stops crying and regains herself, and everything is 'back to normal' again. Except... it isn't. Because now I'm questioning myself: why didn't I go on over and comfort her?
I've never been brilliant with other people's feelings. I don't know how to react to hurt or upset, and when crazy stuff happens, all I can do is stay quiet in the corner (just like I did this time, with the girl) or I do something much worse; something that couldn't possibly help matters. I make a joke, and usually it isn't even funny.
The whole crying incident got me thinking though. Just why am I so detached emotionally from those around me? Why can't I hug somebody when they need a hug, or say the words they're probably dying to hear? Why do I make inappropriate jokes that even I know aren't remotely funny? It's not that I don't understand acceptable social behaviour, because I do. It's deeper than that, much deeper.
My guess is that it stems from my childhood (it's always a childhood problem, isn't it?) Growing up I was always a bit of a loner, which is why I loved writing so much. It was so fun, and so little effort, to create my own characters/friends and have total control of their lives. Their lives were all constructions, based upon my own ideas and experiences; emotions that I myslf had been through.
But being in my room, writing all that stuff, is a little different that actually going out into the real world and living life, meeting people and making real life friends. I guess, stuck in that bedroom, somewhere along the line I ended up a little emotionally stunted.
That's not to say that I'm incapable of emotion, because I am. Everyday I live my life just like the rest of you, and go through the same basic feelings - fear, anger, love, hate, desire, disgust, etc. I just find it hard to understand other people's thoughts, because they're not me, or characters I've created, and I don't bond very well. Who am I to comment on their lives?
As a writer, it's hard to seperate the fictional world from reality, but you must. One has to remember what's real and what matters in order to survive as a human being. Guess, up to this point, I've been failing to do that. It's time I opened my eyes, and started to react to all those things I care about. That's what a real writer, a real person, does.
That girl, she cried, and I couldn't stop her. I wanted to, but didn't.