The streets wrap around me, crushing my lungs, suffocating me. I am walking along the roads, going nowhere- there is nowhere left to go. I am seeing nothing- there is nothing left I want to see. Feeling nothing- I have not felt for years. I am just a worn out girl on the worn out streets, a frozen statue of nothing. I am not real.

People walk by, but I can't see them- they're hardly even entities to me. They're just ghosts of humanity, those who were left behind to suffer. They are just corpses with frozen insides and dead, expressionless eyes. We've come to find this as something normal, because this has become the human standards. A few remained untouched to the bitterness of this life, but they will all be like us someday, we know. Soon enough, we'll all be the same. Nobody is real.

I notice a man on the side of the street. His voice is desperate, his tone pleading. He needs food. He needs a home. He has nothing. He cries to the people, but they do not hear him. They walk past expressionlessly, not even noticing him or the despair that he wears like a cloak. He might as well be dead to them. He is not real.

I walk by, and he grabs onto my shirt, turning me so that I can see his begging expression. But I do not see it. He is faceless, nameless, another person in the crowd. He is nobody, so I walk on. I don't turn back- I'm not sure how to. His pain is like him. It is not real.

My footsteps continue to echo through the streets as I wind and constrict around the multitudes of people, all just like me. We have learned not to notice anything around us. We have learned to hollow our hearts. We have severed our relations and torn apart our aspirations. It is all we can do. We are nothing. We are not real.

Down the street, there is a child crying. He sits, leaning against the side of a building, rocking himself back and forth. His father had passed away in a drive-by shooting many years ago. His mother's life was just stolen only hours before from the greedy, sinning one known as AIDS. He is alone, and he is only eight. He knows the horrors of the world, and he is just a child. I stop and look at him, seeing his fearful, remorseful eyes, hearing his shattering cries. He is lost and afraid. He is sorrowful and brokenhearted. He has nowhere to go. For a moment, I feel my seams ripping, tearing themselves apart inside of me, but they cease when I turn away. I walk away, and I do not look back at this boy. His cries are not real.

I continue to walk through the dying town, my eyes trained to notice nothing. But, once again, they fail- there is another scene coming forth to me, with every step I take. I see the cemetery, filled with solemn looking statues and ornate tombstones. There is a gathering, a crowd of onlookers at a burial. They are a sea of black. I see a woman. She is youthful and graceful, standing tall and staring at the coffin. Inside is the one she loves, but she cannot be with them- between them are satin sheets and heavy oak, and the veil between what is life and death. Tearstains carve themselves into her young face, blemishing the perfection that it was. Nobody else cries. The rest look on, their eyes ennui and their postures straight and perfect. They do not mourn, and I understand why. To them, it is only life. To them, it is not real.

I avert my eyes and continue to walk, but now I have a destination. I need to get away. I need to go home. I hurry to the bus stop, trying to keep my eyes from wandering to those around me. But I, seemingly unlike the others around me, cannot block out the sounds. I hear their breaths, hollow and dying. I hear their screams, raw-throated and rasping. It seems like everyone is screaming, their sounds muted or ignored. Am I the only one to hear? Yes. Because they don't exist, because they are not real.

Finally the bus pulls up to me, stopping right at the curb before me. The doors open slowly, expectantly, waiting for me to enter. I do. I walk carefully up the metal steps, holding my breath as I do. The bus driver does not notice as I hand him my money- he looks right through me and closes the doors. Then he begins to drive again before I can even find a seat, almost causing me to fall. But he doesn't notice, because, to him, I am not real.

I glance around the bus. It is lonely and hollow, just like its inhabitants. There are only seven people who are there, all spaced apart evenly, reading their newspapers or knitting. They are oblivious to one another. I find a seat, the farthest from anybody, and curl up near the window. I stare out into the uncertain beyond, trying not to recognize anyone outside of the glass that separates me from the rest of the world. But still, I see snippets of people, small excerpts of their lives- they are cold and dying, empty and hurt. They are not yet dead, but they are not alive. They drag on with their sorrowful, pathetic souls, putting on masks to hide their true identities. They use all their strength to muster each smile, ever laugh. It is painful for me to watch. But I look on, letting my eyes skim through them one-by-one, feeling their sorrow breaking through my icy heart, feeling their stoic fa├žade ripping through me. This can't be real.

When the bus stops a few blocks from my house, I hurry out. I run and run and run until I see my small home, beige and perfect and looking just like every other house in the world. I hurry in and slam the door and call out, but nobody is home. I am alone. I fall to the floor. I am rippingbreakinghurting- no, I am fine. Why would anything be wrong? Nothing is real.

I feel sick suddenly, but it's all in my head, I know. I remember what my mother had once told me during times like this: "Drink enough whiskey and everything will be better. You'll feel so bad that you won't even feel your sickness." I was underage, though. Too young to drink away the pain, but old enough to understand that none of it was real.

Instead, I take my alternative- I crawl over to my piano and hoist myself up onto the bench. This has always been my output, my panacea. I let my hand run over the keys once before I begin to play, the notes beautiful and sincere and absolutely haunting. The music is like fire, devouring everything it touches, enveloping everything around me, trying to fill every empty space inside of me, trying to eat away everything that isn't real. Not even reality is real. It can't be. It just can't. If it were-

And just like that, I remember- there is the homeless man who everyone ignores. The one who was born on the street and most certainly die there. There is the little boy of eight, all alone in the world. The one who will grow up without family, the one who will forever live with the burning sorrow of loneliness, even when there are a thousand others around him. There is the young woman from the funeral, the one who would be perfect if it wasn't for the tears scarring her cheeks and the blood splattered against her heart. The one who swears she will never love again. Will they become like me? Will they be like all the others? Will the flames in their hearts suddenly freeze over from the ice and the bitterness? Will they die from this special sort of hypothermia, the one that seems to be plaguing the nation? Will they become as hollow as a jack-o-lantern, as unfeeling as the statues they shall become? Too bad, though, because I know the truth- no matter how hard you try to numb yourself, there will always be something carving into your emotions. Always.

And then, in my sickeningly thoughtful state, I realize something. It stabs into my sides as sharply as a knife. My seams finally rip apart, making everything I am spill out into a pile onto the floor, and I can't help but have those frozen tears fall down my cheeks, and I can't help but cry for the homeless guy and the lonely boy and the funeral girl. Worse than that, I cry for all of us hollow, icy humans, the ones who had already died somewhere deep inside.

Why couldn't I see?

Now I understand why we've become such resonating shadows of who we once were- because of this reality, we are hurt. No matter how much I want to, I cannot lie anymore- in this world of the unreal, we are all hurting because, deep inside, we know it is all real.


A/N: I don't really know what this is... I guess I just wanted to mess around with writing. Anyway, I kind of wrote this while I was listening to the song Mad World, which might explain some of it. If you want to listen to it, I'd recommend the Gary Jules version (though I've heard Adam Lambert also sings this song). The original Tears for Fears version just doesn't seem to fit.

Anyway... Review please? I guess I just want to see what people think of it, because personally, I think it's kind of... not-so-great.

Thanks guys!

~Autumn