There are two kinds of loneliness; three, if you include the discipline of writing.
An empty house. A solitary stroll. Working on a project by one’s self. There’s a sense of loneliness in them, but not all the time. More often a longing for companionship, a teasing reminder that it sucks to be alone.
Then, there’s the kind when you sit with random strangers, but more subtle when it’s with your family or friends. You’re not alone; at least, not in a physical sense. You initiate small talk, interact on their preferred activities; sometimes, there’s a hint of joy in there, somewhere, bright reflections hushing the shadows lurking behind disco lights and lamp lights and occasional camera flash. You smile, or grin; you hug or hold hands together.
And at the end of the day, you reminisce about it all: the talks, the discussions, the laughters or tears shared together, connections made in thought and soul. Frail connections that sometimes last, but most often don’t. Some keep in touch, and others get simply lost and forgotten; at worst, ignored. And every time you meet, you look for it — that magic that bound you together; for some, growing; to others, fading, eroding. And you sit there talking, discussing, laughing or crying together, trying to rebuild those desperate connections that once were your thoughts and souls.
Until you realize it too late: that for the past hours and years you’ve been with them, you had been sitting all alone. But of course, you’re the only one who think that way. They tell you so.
Sometimes, I wonder why I write at all.
Maybe if I have people to talk to, I won’t bother writing. But for most writers, we know it isn’t true; conversing with people isn’t always enough. Sometimes, talking with someone, anyone, makes us even feel more alone. Sure, it gives us a certain satisfaction, but there’s always something left to write about— thoughts and emotions that can’t be expressed to another person, out of concern or embarrassment or even fear. Things that are better left hidden, or written… or better yet, hidden through writing.
Then again, sometimes we write to escape the loneliness. And we write to escape through the loneliness.
At times, people would react on what you wrote — comforting words, encouraging words, resonating words. Even negative reactions are appreciated at times; often, it’s better than that numbing silence. At least we know that somehow, our words (although disagreeable) has touched, moved you enough to express your own thoughts.
Most of the time, we’re just floating on this deep, ethereal space between words expressed and written, and words unsaid and unformed. And in that comfortably complex darkness, we wait for loneliness like a partner wondering where their beloved had been.
There’s a vague beauty in loneliness. Like when you see a butterfly with broken wings struggling to fly. Because unlike a stray kitten or an abandoned puppy, you can’t just take it in and hope that love will make it whole again. Maybe you can pick it up, set it on some shrubbery or tree, and believe it will be okay. But you know it won’t be okay. But that’s okay. It’s funny how often, contradicting words and ideas make the most sense.
Loneliness, like coffee or beer, wasn’t always great. It’s bitter, but you get the hang of it; eventually, it becomes something you run to, hide behind. It’s a fortress, so to say, from the world’s incomprehensible madness, if only to protect our own little madnesses.
I wonder if words were invented simply as a catharsis for loneliness. I wonder if God created words because body language is too confusing, like when you look into her eyes and she turns away, like when she tries to hold your hand but you pull it away. Yet in our imperfection, we corrupt words with our own awkwardness — these damning fears clothing itself as morality and ethics, knowledge of good and evil perverted into an instrument of division instead of understanding.
A crowded room. The busy streets. Going to work with everyone else. There’s a sense of loneliness in them, but not all the time. More often we just long for companionship, a painful reminder that we were not meant to be alone.
There are three kinds of loneliness; four, if you include the torture of writing a love letter you could never send, or that you know she would never read nor reply to.