My skin is too tight, stretching tautly over my joints, and I am conscious of all my sharp, angular edges. I am anxiously rigid. My head is ticking.

The monitor makes a power saving sigh and I shiver. Under the desk cable snakes are seething and the sun is thrumming on the curtain making my eyes ache. Sounds surround me: power supplies stridulate, processor fans whirr and hard drives whine. I am locked immobile before a tsunami of noise.

You yawn through the wall and this frees me, I walk quickly to the bedroom trying to outpace my nervous self. With the armless jerk of a sea lion on dry land you prop yourself against the pillows. Your bleary eyes see through my thin smile and you sense the tension in me. We begin the familiar ritual -- we talk over my problems, then under, and to the right, and to the left of them. You offer soothing suggestions in an even tone while I rage silently wishing you would acknowledge that the situation is past desperate, beyond remedy.

For some reason this makes me feel better and I make tiny hopeful promises to myself. We press lips and then bodies. At first it feels like I'm crushing the life out of you but you continue to squeeze me and so I suppose not, surrendering myself to the warm sensation. My skin feels looser now.

Here is what I'm busy being fascinated with: my skin, it's Transparent. (Like all good skin should be, I suppose). Mom is on the phone and I'm only idly listening to her talk. My hand is palm up, wrist cupped in my other palm. Can you see what I'm talking about? My fingers curling around onto my wrist so the tips rest right near the twin tendons running into my palm. And here's what I see - I have these tendons in my wrist, and veins, and if I move those fingertips ever so slightly I can see the protective beautiful skin moving with its freckles and scars, moving slightly and stretching over these things inside of me. It is like a hologram, a picture over a picture. Like when I stare at the ocean too long on an overcast day - I imagine I can see an oily sheen of shadow moving over another layer of light. Same thing; beautiful.

In Girl, Interrupted, Susannah suddenly gets hit by panic, convinced she has no bones inside her wrist. She digs and claws away at her hand, trying to peel down to the inside layer and check for the support. I think that maybe there was just something wrong with her skin, it was not her mind at all.

I am surprised when they, friends, are so callous to Brandon. say things like, Well that's interesting coming from a guy who's never had a girlfriend. He takes it, these comments are not new. His face does not do anything. It is just a face it tells them nothing, I see him doing it.

He is so quiet all the time and there is a difference between shy and sad. Led into conversation, he does it well. You might never know anything was devouring him, if not for the constant flickers of gratitude. and Ha ha Brandon doesn't have a girlfriend.

Didn't we stop making fun of people for being lonely a long time ago? high school? Back when not having a partner was just one more on the list of things people could make fun of you for. It wasn't a way of life. It wasn't a sentence a prediction or your doom writen down unchangeable. It was a current event that seemed like a good thing to pick on. you look unloved, that's one more dork point.   We were lonely in high school; who wasn't? We are lonely now. We are lonely today. You are reading it and knowing it. Aren't we tired of pointing it out.

I would like to go back in time. I would like to fly across this city and grab Brandon by the collar. I would grab my 15-year-old self by the throat.   I would say to us, You have got to be kidding me. You have no idea how much more of this is waiting for you. I would say, Amateur.

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