Do you know what it’s like to be lonely? Not every day run of the mill lonely. Everyone knows that.
I’m talking about deeply, desperately, achingly, “staring out the window wondering if there’s a single person alive who is at that moment missing your company or thinking of you at all and knowing that there isn’t and hasn’t been for a long time” kind of lonely.
The kind with no end in sight.
What you wouldn’t do– what you wouldn’t give– to not be lonely, even for a moment. Sometimes it scares you to think about it.
I’ve been lonely most of my life. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had friends, I’ve had family. I still have family, and friends, both of which show up on occasion. I’ve got people in my life.
But you can be in a room full of people, with crowds of people in your life, and be lonely.
Lonely people know what I mean.
In a world full of acquaintances and faked smiles and meaningless conversations, with television and high speed travel and the internet making the world a smaller place all the time, you’d think it’d be harder to be alone, let alone to be lonely.
But if you know what it’s like to fake that smile and to get up, get dressed, and go about your day like everything’s fine, knowing you’re fooling everyone because none of them really care enough or know you well enough to recognize the difference, then you know what I mean.
At the end of the day, your clothes aren’t the only thing you shed when you get home. When the doors are closed and your work is done and there’s no one else to smile and act brave and pretend for.
When the mask is shed, and you climb into the shower and turn the water on so no one will see you or hear you when you cry, because the last thing you need right then is to have to muster up the strength to put together one more lie, because if you tell them the truth, either they’ll never believe you, or try to tell you all the reasons you have to be thankful.
Of course you’re thankful for the good things in your life. You’re just tired of being alone.
You’re tired of having to fake that smile and put on that mask for everyone else, and knowing it’s painted on.
You’re tired of always being okay, whether you’re okay or not, because you have no other choice.
Just for once, what you wouldn’t give not to feel lonely. Not to feel alone for just one second of your life. Not to be brave or pretend. Not to have to lie just once to the people who profess to know you, who profess to care. Not to know that if you did try to explain how you really felt, they’d try to prescribe you a cure for your emotions, or to tell you to suck it up, that it’s normal, and how everyone knows how you feel. That they know how you feel when you know better.
Some days are more exhausting than others, smiling, faking, pretending. You come away feeling drained after the simplest of conversations, because your mouth is moving, the words come out, and all the while you wonder what the hell your small talk is worth as the seconds of your life are ticked away, knowing you can never get those precious seconds back. And yet you just let them go, figuring that some form of interaction, even a fake one, is better than none at all.