Only the Lonely

The feeling of meeting someone, and feeling Understood for the first time in a long time. Cautiously you open your heart. You know after your divorce, or after you were cheated on, or your spouse died, or maybe it’s just the nonstop disappointment that it’s best to manage your feelings and not get too excited.

Yet you feel yourself starting to hope. This is what they talk about. The world just looks better, the sun brighter. Food even tastes better.

I’ve read study after study that says that loneliness will kill you. I read a statistic that social isolation results in a 50% increase in premature death.

Maybe it isn’t too late for you. You feel yourself beginning to trust, yet the ache in your stomach warns you to be careful. You barely survived it the last time, you can’t go through it again.

Somehow you give into it. Happiness. It’s right there at your fingertips. You admit to yourself quietly that you were so lonely. It’s a dirty secret loneliness. People rarely admit it. They just fill themselves up with stuff, or activities, or vodka.

Then it’s over.

You half expected it. Only this time, you don’t want to tell anyone. How could you let this happen again. How could you dare to believe that what others take for granted has always been just out of reach for you.

Of course you can be lonely in a room full of people. You can sit in a room across from your spouse, and wonder why you feel so alone.

Sometimes it just died a slow death. The relationship sucked the joy out of both of you. The relief when that ended is palatable, and you welcomed that loneliness.

This pain is different. It is the pain of your happily ever after being snatched away so brutally that you struggle to even know what happened. It was here.

It’s gone.

You look in the mirror and wonder if others can see the brokenness. Do they see the mask? The mask that says everything is fine? It’s thrown off at night and the pain and loneliness again become your companions.

Hope is gone. Replaced by fragility. Sudden unexplained tears become commonplace, your heart gets hardened. When you’re weak you look at your pictures, you remember every word, you dream of being held.

You don’t remember that girl. The one that dared to believe. She looked so happy. Were you ever that happy?

You won’t do it again.

It’s over you say to yourself.

It’s over you whisper.

It’s over you scream.

It’s over.

Anne

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