The group huddled around at a quiet corner of the noisy hotel, ready for an eventful evening. As the energetic contingent effortlessly conversed away, taking their valuable interactions for granted, he stood at an awkward position, not really fully huddled in the circle, but not really standing out, listening with awe to the exchange of words, the occasional joke shared, to the sub-conversations within people standing at close proximity to each other, wondering how on earth people could muster up the skill and courage to break through the ice of silence, coming up with things to talk about in the blink of an eye.
This was a portrait of the lifelong struggles alike faced, and at this point of time, it was safe to say that he had created a sort of immunity to this problem. He had few friends, who were close to him, and it was not that he did not like being around them, but it was that he could never find things to talk about with them. His attempt at engaging meaningful conversation, at most, included asking how said person was, discussing said person’s and his interests, and sharing that mildly humorous joke. And, that’s it. Anything further than that and rarely occurring sentences would transition into awkward glances, and, then, into a barren silence only store shelve mannequins would find normal. He had become lonely, desolate, desperate to find similar company, or, to at least be considered as someone equal. All his life, he had stuck out as a sore thumb. His life was not something that would blur easily into the background, and not be rough bristles in the paintbrushes of artists who paint normality. He was an over achiever in studies, met with early success in the one or two in the extracurricular activities which he had chosen to partake in. It was not that he was a failure. His main sadness was the way people imagined him to be- a jolly person who got along with his near perfect life with wide grins and a flawless demeanor- and how that interpretation was sucked into the void of the severe introversion that had consumed whatever self confidence was left in him, and this was a much darker picture in the hollow of his mind than the satisfied and happy person that he had shaped himself up to be from the outside. Sometimes, all he wished was to be warped into the body of a person devoid of any disability to engage in normal conversations with normal people like normal people, and be considered as just another person, just another good friend, and not be seen as an overachieving studious nerd who could not find time to go to social events as he was too busy buried in books. He was sure that that was what most people thought of him, and he wouldn’t be surprised to know that many a joke had been cracked about his “nerdiness” behind his back. He was just another person who wanted to go to parties and wanted to hang out with peers, but the huge boulder in his rough path was his introversion, a problem so common that it wasn’t even considered a problem, but at the same time, a problem so rare and so foreign between people who take conversation as an integral part of their lives, that it was no use explaining to them, let alone receive sympathy, or better yet, a solution...
As he was deep in his own thoughts, in this world which he had crafted out of thirst and desperation for some form of escape from reality, he had realized that the hangout was over, and as everyone was leaving for their homes, there came the insult to injury, from one of his less closer friends:
“You should talk more often, you know.”