This was for an "Angst 101" Workshop over on Madi Merek's blog. She does a "Writers Institute" Section and a Weekly Flashfic competition. Check it out!

www dot themadimerek dot wordpress dot com

Not pre-read or beta'd so any mistakes are mine.

Prompt: "If you don't understand my silence, you won't understand my words."

"I'm fine." A fake smile and several quick blinks, fighting back the sting of tears that want to come.

"I'm good, yeah, how are you? How's the new baby?" Classic diversion tactic; deflect the question back on them.

"Yeah, great thanks, same old same old, you know."

They are all just empty words spoken with hollow tones and half smiles. Barely there feigned enthusiasm as I wander through the crowd, seething on the inside. My skin crawls as it makes contact with someone else's, the nausea swirling in my stomach as the mass of bodies engulfs me.

I squeeze my way through, stopping every so often to make more small talk with more of same.

The same faces every year at the neighbours' New Years Eve party. The whole neighbourhood are out in force, from the Stepford wives with their perfect blonde chignons to their preppy husbands with their Rolexes and golf talk, talking the talk and walking the walk.

But it's empty, and it's fake and none of it appeals to me.

I can't stand any of it, and I just don't fit in here.

I down the contents of my cup, the smooth liquid burning my throat as it goes down, and make a break for it upstairs, where hopefully I can hide out in the bathroom for a little while.

When I find the bathroom door locked, I slip into the guest bedroom where I know there is a balcony. Some air would do me good.

I push the balcony doors open, stumbling over my own feet as fresh, frigid air reacts with the buzz of too much alcohol. I catch myself and lean on the balcony railing, taking deep gulps of air into my screaming lungs, relief washing over me as I find myself in solitude.

I feel like I'm drowning in dark murky waters and no one can see my struggle. I feel like I'm screaming until my throat bleeds but no one can hear me. I feel like I'm clawing at my own skin until angry red stripes appear, and why the hell is no one stopping me?

Away from the buzz of the party, in the silence of a starless night, I realise that I will never fit in here. I will never be the neighbour I should be or the wife my husband wants me to be. I will never be SuperMom who can do everything with a dozen cookies on top, nor have the perfect blonde chignon.

My silence is approval - to my husband's requests and my neighbours' snarky comments.

My silence means I'll do whatever you ask with gritted teeth and fake smile, because sometimes it's just easier to submit.

But it's stifling me. It's oppressing me and submerging me and suffocating me all at once. Slowly killing my spirit and crushing my soul.

As I gaze into the inky black night, illuminated only by the fairy lights from neighbouring houses, I wonder what it would be like to say all the things I really want to say. I wonder what kind of looks I would get or what whispers would surround me.

I shake my head and force out a bitter laugh, because it will never happen.

My silence is approval, and my words are empty, and no one hears my cries.

I am alone.

I am working on a novel and if you would like to know more, come find me on facebook under the pen name Mia Madison. I am also on twitter "at" MiaMadison30 and have a blog www dot miamadisonauthor dot wordpress dot com

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