Will I always feel this way?
So empty, so estranged
Empty by Ray LaMontagne

Chapter 5 – Alone

You never considered the possibility that she would leave just you. You accept without question Wilson's information that she and …that she has moved across the country; that she has moved on. You have no reason not to believe him.

You don't believe your own senses when you see her in the lobby. She is not your Cameron. You cringe when you think of her that way, she was never yours, but you think it nonetheless. You are sure that your nightmares have invaded the waking hours until you overhear a conversation between two nurses about PPTH's favorite new couple.

You thought her leaving was the worst that could have happened between you. You know better now. Your nightmares are gone. You don't need them any longer. You are living the nightmare.

You immediately begin to drive yourself crazy with different scenarios. Why is she still in Princeton? Did she stay for the job? It seems so unlikely. She could have any job she wanted. The ER is a joke of a position for her. Did she stay for Chase? Is the sacrifice she is making in her career for him? Or worse, did they decide their future together?

You never feel more alone than when you are with her now. It's a rare occurrence. No longer is her presence, her scent, her energy an everyday part of your life. Now you must seek her out, and you find yourself doing it more frequently than you would like.

You stalk her during her shifts, taking patients you would never normally see because you need a reason to give her when you show up in the ER. You watch her surreptitiously so you can bump into her in the cafeteria when you need to and avoid her there when you must. You are a masochist, yes, but even you can tolerate only so much.

You fire a perfectly good candidate for your fellowship space because she reminds you of Cameron. It's irrational and you know it but that doesn't stop you. You compare everyone to her, consciously and unconsciously.

You almost sneer when you see them together. You don't, but she notices anyway and you hate that she can still do that. You don't want her to know you're even aware of them. You definitely don't want her to know you might care.

As if any or all of these burgeoning things you refuse to acknowledge as feelings aren't bad enough, you suddenly can't get enough sex. You've always had a healthy appetite when it comes to sex, but this is different. You are letting it cloud your judgment, interfere with your work and that is something that has never before happened.

You are appalled that Wilson notices. You are disgusted with yourself when you realize Foreman notices too. And yet, you are powerless to stop it. Even after you make a buffoon of yourself with Terzi, you ask her out anyway. In front of everyone. You tell yourself afterwards it was a calculated move; that you planned it that way to let everyone else know that you have no boundaries. Nothing is off limits in your mind.

You lie.

You hire hooker after hooker, even going so far as to procure the services of a clinic patient. You can't get enough. No amount of sex satisfies you.

You refuse to consider any reasoning about it beyond the physical need for sex. You deny that there is any possible motive other than the biological imperative for endorphin release. You rationalize your impulses as the result of the stress of the games you are playing with your fellows.

Then you see them together. There is nothing special about the interaction. They are talking, nothing more, but from the outside it looks so much more intimate than that. She touches his arm and smiles. She looks at him the way she looked at you when she left and you cannot stop the jealousy that courses through you.

Your chest constricts and every refusal, every denial, every rationalization is stripped away. You feel naked, raw and exposed, as though everyone around you could see this but you couldn't. Until just now.

You are lonely.

You are alone.

You have felt it most poignantly when you are with her, but you have pushed it aside as always. Now, you can no longer push it aside. Because as alone as you feel when you are with her, you feel more alone when she is with him.

Because you want her with you.

You drop your head to your chest, smirking bitterly at your own blindness as the nurses and patients pass you by in the lobby. You have been trying to fill the void she left with sex. You can't …because she isn't just sex to you. She never has been. And now, as you watch her with him, you know she never will be.

You grip the handle of your cane tightly and limp away in haste. You wish you had never hired her, never let her anywhere near you.

You had been right in the beginning.

You are better off alone.