It creeps up on you, like a cold breeze in the middle of summer. While you’re reading a book, something you do for yourself. Or eating a meal, there’s no shame in eating alone. You might be watching an episode of the show you’ve been working on all week, excited to get a weekend night in alone. Curled up in a bed holding your dog, watching her chest rise and fall. As you sip on your daily cup of coffee, a ritual you savour . You feel confident in your choices, secure in the life you’ve made and almost happy that you have this luxury. You sit and take pleasure in watching the most mundane moments, aware of how this might contribute to your idea of mindfulness and appreciation of the little things.
How we envy the living. The ones who believe there really is something to live for. Those who sleep with peaceful dreams and quiet breathing. Anyone who has someone, or even your someone who seems to feel not a care in the world apart from that blinking glass screen they have their gaze affixed on. It can happen with the release of a word or maybe as our statements go overlooked, at a party or with a few friends. You’re sitting with your family and they seem to focus on everything that doesn’t matter to you and you wonder, how you fit into this genetic tree.
Sometimes we look across the street and see a hobbling man dressed in month-old clothes, blackened by the world in which he is merely a spectator. Or we hear the story of a family torn apart, a child lost too young.Those moments when you’re more attuned to the ones who have nothing, more in synch with the fading sunlight than you ever wished to be. We are after all nothing more than specks in a great celestial space where each one matters less than the next.
It crawls up your spine and holds you by both shoulders. You feel a shudder go through your skin and suddenly your eyes start to droop. You feel a quiver in your lip and a dampness in each eye. You look around and the room seems changed. Quieter, a little darker. You might be sitting in your favourite spot, looking at all your favourite things. You technicolour sweaters, little glass bottles of smells, books and paintings, shelves with family photographs. And amidst this flurry of activity it still manages to paw around you. Each softly padded foot circling you till you can’t see a way out. In the place you thought you’d feel most safe and most immune to its decimating powers.
You’re surrounded by laughing and blurred conversation. You take a minute to find your spot, to find a place for yourself but remain somewhat on the outside. You’re overlooked and observant, aware that you could be replaced by another face, anyone new. It starts to crawl toward you, through kitten heels and laced up sneakers. Taking hold of you from below and moving upwards till it’s in your lungs and speaking through every breath.
That’s the thing about loneliness, you don’t need to be alone for it to find you.