You and I are facing each other on a deserted street. It must be a little after two in the morning and the sky is a starless monochrome. The streetlights cast halos of soft light that drape gently down our faces and extend shadows on the asphalt backwards from our feet. We are close enough to run and reach out and touch each other but far enough that there is no doubt we are separate. Behind you I can see a thick fog rolling in, blanketing the buildings and the road in an opaque sheet, enveloping the world. As the fog nears your turned back I call to you to come closer to me, away from the fog. I can hear voices all around and I turn to see people I know, or people you have mentioned, standing beside me and behind me. We are shouting out to you, in a cacophony that hurts my ears and makes my throat raw, but I can tell by your face that you cannot hear us. The fog is swirling so close to you, I can no longer see your shoes or the definite lines of your body; I can see your face as you try to hear what it is we are yelling. We are screaming now, a mob of outstretched hands, begging for you to link just a finger with one of ours, to let us anchor you and keep you safe from the dense unknown threatening to overtake you. The last thing I see as you sink into the fog, is a sad little smile, as if you do not believe that we could support the weight that is on your shoulders, that we would be brought down too.

“We are here,” we call in unison, the air has grown thick enough to touch. “We are not leaving.”

But you cannot hear us through the distance, and you cannot see us through the fog.

BB

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