Do you ever wake up to such a tidal wave of self-loathing you can hardly open your eyes? You lay in the half-light listening to the first plaintive trills of the birds on their drooping twigs and think of every stupid thing you’ve said or done, every hyperbolic joke you took too far, every inappropriate hug you offered, or winsome smile that was not returned. You can taste the hot-watery shock of being tolerated by the one you cared for, being discarded by the one you loved. You remember the saltwater taffy made of salt that you swallowed out of courtesy. The look exchanged between two people you thought were your friends. The time your name was excluded blatantly, aggressively, from a list it should have been on. How you puzzled, thinking, I am here, I am loyal, and snapped to the horror that your loyalty was undesirable, that loving and being loved are not the same thing. You ride the current of bile to a morning when your friend, your casual smiling buddy, screamed, Stay away from me! and you wake to the sound of it twenty years later and think, I will stay away, I want to stay away and stay here and stay buried under the covers where no one has to wish I were not around.