(This is the continuation of my "Dolphin" story: http://librarianwithsecrets.blogspot.com/2009/05/to-hug-dolphin-continued.html )
The storm had long blown over, and, in retrospect, life had gone back to normality at a surprising speed; daily business was soon resumed by almost everyone, including herself.
There was work and there were her walks along the beach which she had taken up again only a few weeks after the storm, always looking out for her friend, the dolphin.
As before, the dolphin was sometimes there and sometimes he wasn't; she was used to the erratic pattern (wich really wasn't much of a pattern at all) of his visits to "her" part of the beach.
Then, there came a period of prolonged absence.
Such periods had been there before, and when at first she had been terribly worried about the dolphin's wellbeing, she now knew that those periods were necessary and natural; a dolphin did, after all, have to do dolphin things from time to time.
But this time, when the period of absence ended and the dolphin came within her eyes' reach again, she had the distinct impression that something was different.
She could see the dolphin, and see that he was looking well and healthy, happily playing with those of his kind, but he would not come closer, as had been his habit before, or acknowledge her presence in any other way.
This went on for several days, and days turned into weeks.
At work, she sought to finish her tasks early so that she could hurry to the beach as soon as possible, always thinking "today he'll be there again!", only to see her hopes crushed once more.
She searched within her memory for anything that she could have possibly done to make the dolphin angry at her - could dolphins actually get angry? at humans? - but did not find an answer.
One evening, she had dashed to the beach again, and saw the dolphin in the distance.
Suddendly, exhaustion flooded her, and she sat down on the sand.
The old familiar feeling of being rejected was no surprise to her; too often in her life she had already been confirmed in her conviction that she must be, as a human, so faulty nobody could stand being around her for longer than necessary, and so boring that she could not hold anybody's attention long enough for friendships to grow properly (family not counting - they didn't have a choice).
If I disappeared off the face of the earth, she mused, what would happen?
The three or four family members that lived close by would most likely be the only ones to try and find out where she was; at work, people would probably be talking about her sudden disappearance for a while, and when someone new would be employed in her place, they would forget about her; and as for the other people who knew her in the way neighbours usually know each other, they wouldn't even notice her being gone.
Face it, she thought, you simply do not matter. You have never mattered and never will, and that's the long and short of it.