I can feel it in the interlocked hands of couples, with one person holding on so tight that the other doesn’t even have to try. I can feel it in the gaze of a man or woman who looks longingly past their partner to the person on the other side. I can feel it in the couples chasing perfection as they laugh together, but leave when the sadness begins.
I can hear it in the clinking of ice cubes that swirl around dark temptations as thirsty lips drink, until they forget whom they belong to. I can hear it as people move, drowning in a sea of bodies, in a silence so loud that the beating music just isn’t enough. I can hear it in the empty laughter of late nights, as young girls and boys rush past shining street signs to homes of people who will turn into strangers in the morning.
I can see it lurking behind glossy screens trying so hard to be anything but what they really are. I can see it behind frantic fingers that double tap on things that inspire envy, and hover over ghosts of people they are still in love with. I can see it in eyes that cannot sleep and cannot cry, because they are afraid that if they start they will never stop.
I can feel it in the closing walls of cubicles that don’t let the sunshine in. I can feel it in the loud, incessant talking at cafes that have nothing really important to say. I can feel it in flashiness of superficial and materialistic things that will be forgotten, when something shinier comes along.
I can sense it in silence on the dining table of a large family whose mouths are only for eating. I can sense it in the man who sits alone on the park bench, watching his life flash past his eyes. I can sense it in the wrinkled-ness of old age that yearns for the freshness of youth.
I used to think that there was nothing worse than death, but it seems as if we fear our loneliness much more than dying. We are willing to be eaten alive, and to be killed by our loneliness before we have learned to live. Anything is better than facing the rough edged rawness of our real selves, even the apparent threat of death. I used to think that loneliness was something that could be overcome and conquered. I used to think that it was something to run away far, far away from, into a land of completeness.
I used to think that there was something missing, until it struck me that loneliness could never be filled.
It is there after you have loved somebody, and have lost them. It is there after you have loved somebody, and still love them. It is there after you have discovered the light, beautiful, creative, divine parts of yourself. It is there after you’ve learned to love the ugly, authentic, dark and terrible parts of yourself. It is there while you are travelling the world, and meeting new faces. It is there while you are home with your family and familiar things.
It is there, always there, waiting patiently for you to come back to it.
It is there until you recognize that what you were running from was never chasing after you. It is there until you understand that you can choose to fill it with anything you want, your darkest fears and wildest desires. It is there until you stop escaping from it, and start escaping to the taste of freedom. It is there until you realize that the vastness of its space is as big as the universe. It is there until you realize that your loneliness is an ocean of nothingness, and then it simply ceases to exist.
It is gone when you listen to the silence of your soul speaking to you, and in that moment you know that you were always alone but never lonely.