Yesterday, at 2am, loneliness visited me again. As I was lying in the dark, struggling with my insomnia, he crept into the room. I knew it was him. He stood above my bed and gazed down on me.
Great, I really didn’t want to deal with him tonight… I was tired from work… from the long commute… and that darn train and all of its passengers smelling like the anguish of a long day’s work.
Loneliness gently crawled in between my covers and wrinkled my sheets. He laid his cold, hard, body next to mine. And for a moment, he didn’t move. He just laid there looking at the back of my head. Then, he drew back a few strands of my mangled hair and inched closer. He kissed me on the shoulder and lightly whispered into my ear, “Hey, beautiful…”
“Go away.” I demand, but he insists. Loneliness ruthlessly pulls me close to him and grapples my waist. He fingers the curvature of my body, and I am enclosed in his emptiness. I lay there bitter and limp.
I wasn’t scared of him like I used to be… just tired.
I first met loneliness in 2009. He was handsome, darling, and such a gentleman.
I had just graduated from high school and was on the road to a new life in college. We spent the entire summer together, consuming all the flavors of the Häagen-Dazs collection.
He told me that he had been with many women in the past. He told me he was an artist. His craft was not something many could understand, but something that everyone could “feel”.
When school started, he decided he would pack his bags and attend University with me. He said he could not bear to be apart from me for that long. 4 years… it is a long time…
So we went off the college together. He went to parties with me, went to class with me, and during the evenings, loneliness would distract me while I was attempting to determine what it meant, exactly, to find reach and frequency.
We had our first fight when we were in Taiwan, the summer of my freshman year in college. I decided that I would travel all the way across the globe with loneliness. We both thought it would be a good idea.
We walked the streets of Taipei City, sharing authentic, sweet bubble tea. We went to the night markets together and went to a number of live shows. It was nice… loneliness catered to where I wanted to go, where I wanted to be.
On this particular day, the eastern sun was hovering above us and I guess it made us both very irritated. It was very hot… What’s more… those darn Taiwanese couples… with their cutesy matching outfits and their need to make everything in their lives a scene from a tacky drama. Well… I said to loneliness… “How come you never chased a bus for me?” “How come we never buy those cute couple outfits?”
He looked at me devilishly… “Because”, he said, “I love you in a different way.”
“Well…” I said… “I don’t want that. Why can’t we be normal?”
“What’s so great about these couples, anyhow? They all act the same way… lovey, dovey, living in their own little worlds… but its all lust.”
Then… something in me just snapped…. “I don’t know what’s so great about them. But maybe it’s better than what we have… you follow me everywhere and I think…. I think I’m tired of being with you…”
“Well… little lady,” he said, “You really want me to chase a bus?”
We tried again in New York. It seems… he was more unbearable when I was out on my travels. In Manhattan, loneliness went with me to the musical theatres and art shows, ate overpriced street food, and searched for what little green there was in the city.
Block after block… it started the blur.
On the last day in the city, we were standing in front of a lovely piece from a local artist… it was a lithograph of his long lost love. Loneliness tickled the hairs on the back of my neck and said… “You know… I really hate art museums.”
“You know… I said… I’m starting to hate them too.”
Sometimes, he’s too much to take. Sometimes, he calls me 20 times a day. Sometimes, when I was with him, I couldn’t enjoy anything I was doing.
He got jealous every single time I would talk to my friends. He didn’t want me to be with anyone else. Just him.
Loneliness was obsessed with me. He loved me from head to toe, inside and out, and refused to leave me.
He wanted every piece of me. He didn’t want me to be my own person.
He wouldn’t let me go.
It came to a point where I would just shut myself indoors with him… and all we would do is stare into each others’ eyes.
And then he would criticize me. He criticized my art. He criticized my hair. He even criticized me about the way I breathed. Just as he had loved me, he criticized everything that he loved about me.
I just remained still. On my knees, staring at the carpet.
My mom tells me I need to be happy with loneliness. Learn to be comfortable with him.
My grandma tells me to pray.
A friend tells me that she doesn’t understand why loneliness comes to our parties.
And I told all this to loneliness last night.
He laughed and said, “They don’t really know nothing about us.”
I say, “I don’t think I really know anything about us.”
“I’m an artist” he proclaims. “And you, you are my art piece.”
I stroke his arm and we both drift off to sleep.