This Is Loneliness
Alone. I do it well. I even like it for what it is. I know how to be content in it and steep it in richness.
But my loneliness is a completely separate thing. You tell me you know it, too. You, who hears daily the words, "I love you." You, who is cared for and cherished. You, who has intimate knowledge of another's skin. And I understand the feeling of being isolated in a pair-bond. But when you tell me that my loneliness is everyone's loneliness, I wonder about things. I wonder about these things:
Do you ever stare at your hands while riding the streetcar and wonder if they will ever know again what it feels like to be held?
Does the ache rise up into your throat and hang there by its fingernails, making it hard to breathe and leaving you only to nod at the cashier in the express lane at the grocery store, afraid there is nothing left of your voice but a tattered whisper?
Do you feel solitude ravaging you like the lover you crave, penetrating you so deeply that the very stardust you're made from dances in the dirge?
Do you wake up alone—1,743 mornings' worth—only to close your eyes again, paralyzed by the depth of the emptiness beside you?
Do you ever wonder if people will catch on to the secret that you're only pretending to live the life they see while your real existence is a basic game of solo-navigating from one hour to the next without breaking?
Does the absolute freedom everyone tells you you're lucky to have hold you captive and stare into your eyes, watching them grow wild with hunger as you starve for touch?
Do the days, weeks, months, and years slide from you in a downward rush that feels like it scrapes away and erodes the best of what you are?
Does your feral torrent of dreams and desires and thoughts and passion and curiosity and awareness and love and wonder and hunger and grit and fire gush from you with no one to cup their hands beneath it all to catch even a single drop of the deluge?
Do you stare into the jet-black every night before bed and wonder how this can possibly be your life?
Because this. This is what my loneliness is. Are you still so eager to claim it for your own?