05 February 2015

always the old way

Loneliness creeps in quietly, expertly avoiding the creaky floorboard and silencing the rusty hinge, an old acquaintance I'm not particularly fond of but can't seem to escape. It matters not that I have drawn the curtains and shut the doors, in my home as well as in my heart; he always finds a way to slither, tiptoe, and claw his way back. He takes a seat at my table, set for one, and we exchange nothing but telepathy; I greet him simply by flinging open the drapes and letting the hope and sunshine stream in. Loneliness winces- it is his Kryptonite- but says nothing. We sit in silence as dead as my soul. I am lost in my thoughts, staring out the window, keeping my focus on the brightness outside that tries valiantly to encourage me. Once, a long time ago, it could have worked, and I could have put off this meeting with Loneliness for another day. And then the clouds come, briefly covering the sun, casting the world into shadow; the sun struggles through. Until they turn into storm clouds, angry purple bruises on the face of the weeping sky, and the earth is suddenly so much darker, colder.. lonely. I glance at Loneliness, his vacant expression and taunting smile, then back outside, where my hope, my only weapon, has disappeared. Still, I try to find the beauty in this sudden storm; isn't the lining of all clouds silver? Beside me, I sense the smugness radiating off of Loneliness. This is a game, to him, one he will inevitably win. He always wins.

We sit together at my table until finally, I give up waiting for the sun, and my hope, to return and close the curtains once more. I cannot get rid of him, but still I refuse to act as a good hostess. I offer no hospitality, no refreshments, but he needs none. He feeds and thrives on my insecurities and my doubts, assuring me that I have good reason to feel this way. After all, Loneliness is my only companion. Even when someone ventures into my home and sits at my table, in the very seat occupied by Loneliness, they don't stay long. I play nicely and try so hard, wishing they would stick around to keep Loneliness at bay, and yet they never stay.. and that is when Loneliness finds me again. He is nothing, if not faithful.

We sit in the one room of this spacious home- house- that I use; all others are untouched, waiting for someone, anyone, to come and stay long enough to explore, leave their footprints in the carpet and their fingerprints on the frames and stir the dust motes from their rest and unbury old memories and create new ones. I have walked through them, on occasion, my sadness trailing behind me like my fingertips across the walls; Loneliness follows, and the pain cripples me, leaving me lost in the depths of a closet, lost in the depths of despair and I am so alone.. save for Loneliness. And so I stay in the front room at the table, welcome anyone who stops by, and wait, as always, for Loneliness to eventually return.

It is our routine, and he will always return, no matter how much I try to fight him off and delay him. One day, I will stop fighting- and I feel that day approaching. Clouds may have silver linings, but shadows don't. They weigh on my shoulders, demons on both sides, a cape sewn out of all my sorrow. One day, the storm raging outside my window will come and never leave and I will be in this house at this table with Loneliness. One day, I will lose hope. That is the ultimate victory, the one he awaits in this game we play. Cat-and-mouse. I cannot escape his grip. Or if I could, the only way out is his grand prize; I would not feel Loneliness anymore, though.. I would not feel anything. Death is not so demanding, does not take as much of a toll.

I lay my head on the table and struggle against the tears I feel coming, but not for long. I let them fall. Loneliness remains motionless, though I can feel his smirk as I silently admit defeat. He has gained the upper hand, once again, and I have given up, once again. The storm outside has moved within me; I can feel it in my shaking hands and my frantic pulse and my hiccupping sobs. It is ripping my soul to shreds. As my pain deepens and my insecurities grow stronger, so does he slowly establish his dominance over me. I have nothing left to fight with, or for. Nothing save for Loneliness, who has taken everything I have not offered to give. All I have is my broken self, and I am hardly worth the effort. 

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