The Story of Loneliness

“Loneliness, I’ve read, is like being in a long line, waiting to reach the front where it’s promised something good will happen. Only the line never moves, and the other people are always coming in ahead of you, and the front, the place where you want to be, is always farther and farther away until you no longer believe it has anything to do with you.”

–Richard Ford, Canada

 Tell me about your loneliness.

Comments

  1. pj says

    Yesterday was a new low for me in the lonliness category- on the previous call I let her put me on hold and when she came back 5 minutes later she quickly asked me to let me put her on hold and hung up on me when I said “no” to the abuse I was about to get. This was at the world famous Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA. I do talk a little slower with the terminal brain tumor I have but does that drop me to the level of “pond scum” because their staff can only answer 85 calls per day instead of the standard 90?”This sort of behavior will continue as long as managers value calls per day over the human touch. I guess there are still some Nazi vestages of the Nazi era holding out 70 years after WW2.

    • says

      pj, this does indeed sound like an isolating, lonely moment. I’m sorry that you couldn’t make a human connection for such an important phone call. I’m sorry.

    • Polly says

      PJ, I’m really sorry. I hope that you can find some support, soon. Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

    • Terry Gibson says

      PJ, I’m so sorry you had to experience that. It stings so much to be treated badly by people. Although completely different, when my brother was ill, he made his own phonecalls, spoke slowly and his words often came out garbled. He was hurt repeatedly by the treatment he got, which made me furious. They just assumed he was drunk or stoned and nobody would help him. Mostly, they just hung up on him. Sadly, even the bus company, who transported patients in wheelchairs, were completely insensitive. I know this seems totally unrelated but it was a concrete example that I thought about. Take good care, PJ, and thank you.

    • Judy says

      PJ, what a horrid experience you had. I’m so sorry to hear this. I do hope you were able to a more satisfactory resolution with other calls. This sucks and I hope you let them know it.

    • Hazel says

      I can identify with your feelings of isolation and frustration after trying for two hours to connect with someone in my community for a counseling appointment. I never did get one and I have no trouble with my speech. I felt rejected, frustrated, angry and less than. I can’t imagine what you felt.

      Thank you for sharing your piece, it is validating.

      • cissy says

        I have to say after reading these posts I will be very sensitive when I’m on phone calls at work. I like to think I already am but this is a reminder that I never know what the person on the other is dealing with and for me not to make assumptions based on how someone is speaking.

  2. says

    My loneliness sleeps at the foot of the bed. He likes to climb up in the middle of the night and sleep between us. He slips into all the spaces between us. He hogs the covers and yanks them away from me, exposing bare flesh, making me cold.

    Loneliness is a slow, steady prowler. He isn’t fast. During the day, he can never keep up with me. He’s easy to outrace; all I have to do is stay busy. It’s in the in-between times that he haunts me, whispering into my ear with his quiet insistent voice, “There’s no one really here for you,” he says. “When was the last time you were really connected?” It’s in those moments before I go to sleep or when I stop “doing” and come to a stop. It’s in the early morning before the day starts spinning. Those are his times. Those are the times he stalks me. Those are the times he sticks it to me. Those are the times he winds himself around my neck like a noose, leaving me panicked and breathless. “If you only listened to me,” he said, “and stopped running, I’d have something wonderful to teach you. But you’re so busy keeping me at bay that you never learn. Oh, there have been times you heeded me, times you listened, times you even embraced me. I wasn’t such a bad companion, now was I? Why are you so afraid of me now?”

    I don’t really have an answer to his question. I don’t really know why I fear him. All he’s doing really is holding up a mirror. What is it that I don’t want to see?

    • Ilana says

      Laura- This piece sounds so familiar. You must have shared it somewhere before. I was again struck by, and remember from the first time, the personification of the loneliness, that it would have something to teach and share, that it would want us to listen. Just beautiful.

      Tonight the last line is really haunting me. “All he’s doing, really, is holding up a mirror. What is it that I don’t want to see?” I hate having my picture taken almost as much as I hate looking at pictures of myself. I hate being forced to look in the mirror in public; at the gym or when getting a hair cut. I ask myself the same question. “What is it that I don’t want to see?” As of yet, I don’t have an answer. Thanks for the thought provoking questions. IM

    • Polly says

      This is one of those pieces that gets better every time you read it – and I loved it the first time. I also love the personification of loneliness. I’m afraid of it but I think at certain moments it can be my best friend. I love how the words flow on the page – it’s gripping and raw. This is beautiful, Laura. Thanks for posting it again.

    • Tony del Zompo says

      laura, i think the week you spend alone in bali will be one of your greatest gifts to yourself, and an opportunity to embrace your loneliness once again.

    • Hazel says

      “What is it that I don’t want to see?” Now there is a whole different question and another good prompt.

      Loved your personalization of loneliness. Nice piece.

      Thank you for sharing.

      • Hazel says

        Waiting For Myself

        Like curling white smoke they come,
        people and events. They float,
        into and out of my head
        on a very light, spring breeze.
        Their essence fills my mind but,
        I cannot catch hold of them.
        Some scents linger longer and
        disturb my thoughts, then, stronger
        breeze swirls them away from me.

        Myself floats by, just out of
        reach, while the cold empty shell
        sits beside the road and waits.
        (Hazel S. Muller – from book “Windfalls”)

    • Judy says

      Laura, this gave me chills. I loved it! Every word. Every placement. Thank you so much for a wonderful piece.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Laura, I remember this piece too. It stands out because I can remember something, anything, and I’m so proud of that! :) But also, more seriously, because I loved it. I remember how I responded before, your reply, and my reaction. Today, although I still feel that tug with most people, I don’t think I need to fix or bandage it. I do feel and know that I am still moved by this, celebrate it, and stand in awe of its beauty.

      • cissy says

        Laura, Ms. Davis, This is beautiful! I love how loneliness goes from being a scary and haunting presence in the bed to the a question and almost a neglected child asking why/what is to be avoided? I relate to the busy-in-the day and there in the before sleep/half awake times loneliness is there. Cissy

    • Debbie says

      Laura – I wrote a poem in college about my nameless lover – loneliness. I had not thought of it for a long time but your post made me remember. Very nicely done and I echo the words and sentiment of your fans! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Della says

    We had wandered around the huge, crowded shopping mall for what seemed like hours that day, my husband, two toddler sons, and I. Since I am not the “shopper” of the family, I was exhausted and really getting fairly cranky, as were our boys. My husband wanted a specific store-the reason now escapes me, thirty years down the road-but it seemed really important at the time that he find this particular store. We were lost, and even the information desk seemed to be hiding somewhere, just south of what was left of my sanity. My feet began to hurt, so I sat down on one of those modular boxes that in the 1980′s passed for mall seating.

    There was a woman next to me, holding a baby in her arms while attempting to attend to a toddler in a stroller. She said something to me which I didn’t really pay attention to, because I was trying to cajole my husband into maybe just going on his search without us-or, more exactly, ME-which he did not want to do, for fear of not finding me again in this crazy mess. The woman repeated herself-I caught what she was saying, finally…”Oh, you’re just like me-you have a lot of little ones, too! It’s a lonely business for me so I came to this mall for someone to talk to.” Of course, I instantly thought she was, in short, “a weirdo”, so I kept my sons back from her, and as soon as my feet were rested a bit, we left her behind. I did not say a word to her.

    Who, I thought, goes to a mall and just talks to Anyone? A real strangeoid, that’s who. I was very leery of this odd stranger.

    Well, time marches on. I divorced that husband, spent some time as a single mom, married again. My now-three sons were all pre-teens or teenagers. The web of support I had carefully woven when the boys were small unraveled, unnoticed by me, because I had the parenting thing all wrapped up, between my husband and myself. Then I got pregnant again, and here was son number four, in the middle of my Middle Age! My husband had gotten a better education to support all of us, my sons were growing beautifully into their own persons, and life was perfect. We had purchased a home, purchased a new car, all that good stuff that makes life easy to live.

    One little hitch. I was far too paranoid to have ever learned to drive. I could have a panic attack just thinking about trying it. So, I was the epitome of a Stay At Home mother, because when winter ice and snow came, that’s all I could do. Stay At Home. Life got pretty narrowly focused, to put it mildly. My entire day was spent taking care of a newborn, cooking, cleaning and taking care of my other sons as soon as they came home from school. I became a human automaton, doing exactly the same thing every day. Hitch number two was that my husband was gone on a project seven days a week, twelve hours per day. He was not exactly good company the short time he was home, since he was mostly exhausted. Hitch number three was-breastfeeding a very hungry baby-it seemed like he had never left my body, but that he was now attaching to my body like a male angler fish. The mind goes strange places.

    I tried calling people I used to know, but their kids were all teens, too; most had remarried and were busy (this is in the pre-FaceBook era) with their own issues. No one had a car nor the time to come and visit me, and many had long-forgotten how lonely life can be with a tiny baby to care for, especially in the darkness of winter; their kids were nearly grown. Just because I had gone back to re-read a chapter of life did not mean that others were interested in going back there, too.

    So, I was exceptionally lonely. Not just “Gee, I wish I had someone to talk to” lonely, but “I-talk-to-the-presenters-on-QVC-without-calling-them-on-the-phone” lonely. If you’ve never been there, and I hope you haven’t been, but it’s sort of inevitable as humans go-it is a dark and depressing place; not just a sad place, but a place of despondency, where hope has long since take flight and everything seems pointless. It was like a lovely Hell-I felt sort of like Tantalus, except I could actually touch everything we had-it just all did no good for my desperate situation. My husband did not have time to understand: my sons were doing their own thing, and rightfully so. I was the only person who could see the blackness of my despair-and to understand the fact that it was nearly impossible to fix-all my previous “fixes” being used up. I was bereft.

    One day, mid-winter, when the sun finally peeked through the clouds enough to melt the ice for a day, I decided to bundle up the baby and take him out-pretty much anywhere that wasn’t the four walls of my personal prison seemed like the perfect spot, where ever that spot may have been.

    I ended up at a fast-food place, pleased with myself for finally getting away, even though I still had Baby with me (whom I not-so-jokingly referred to as “my appendage”-yeah, not so good for him, right?) Anyway, I sat myself and baby down, and a young woman with three small children sat a couple tables away from me. I finally caught her eye, and said, “Hey, looks like you’ve got your hands full, too!” She quickly looked over at me, looked away, said something to her kids and they all got up and moved to another part of the restaurant….and I realized-Oh, My God……oh, my god……….

    • says

      Delia, welcome to the Roadmap Blog and thanks for this fantastic first post. It was so vivid. I was right there with your claustrophobia and your isolation and your loneliness. They say what goes around comes around–I guess that was the moral of this story. You captured some of the real challenges of motherhood so well. Thank you and I hope you keep coming and posting more!

      • Tony del Zompo says

        one of my loneliest moments was the day i cared for my two nieces. they were seven and five. as we sat in the kitchen in my mother’s house, i was overwhelmed by the feeling of KNOWING what it must have been like for my own mother when she raised her three sons alone.

    • Hazel says

      Thank you for sharing.

      I have found myself in the situation of going grocery shopping just so I could talk to the checkout clerk.

    • Polly says

      Della, I really enjoyed reading this piece. I could relate to some of the feelings of isolation that you described so well. And what an entertaining ending! Thanks for posting.

    • Judy says

      Della, What a story. I was right there with you at both of the malls, in those four walls during winter with a baby. You crated a very vivid picture of lonelinesss. Thank you for sharing. And yeah, what Laura said.

    • Diana says

      Della,
      Oh this took me back! I think I have been in the same malls and fast food places. The first year with my daughter it rained and rained and rained and I found myself in malls and fast-food places “please with myself to finally get away”. You captured all the nuances of early motherhood and the isolation and loniless that often comes with it.

  4. Tony del Zompo says

    Loneliness has always terrified me. Not the feeling, but the idea. But it’s a part of the human condition, and I have deliberately sought it out in order to overcome it.

    As an adult, I had never lived alone. I was either married, lived with my mother, or had roommates. In my forties, I made a conscious decision that I would confront one of my biggest fears. I had been divorced ten years, and knew I wanted to be in a partnership again, but it seemed necessary to live alone first.

    People partner for a variety of reasons, but I knew that I did not want to inflict myself on another individual simply because I was lonely. I intended to be a partner, not a parasite, and I’ve found that my most disastrous relationships were born of my own inadequacy. When I walked into my apartment, alone, for the first time, I froze in the living room.

    “Can I really do this?” I asked myself. My hand was shaking slightly as I opened the refrigerator and beheld the empty shelves. I opened the cupboards, the cabinets, and the closet in the bedroom. They were also empty. It was just me, alone, in a one bedroom apartment. “Can I really do this?” I asked again.

    It was then that a voice spoke to me. It wasn’t an auditory hallucination, but rather, an intuitive knowing. “I’ve brought you this far.” It said. “It would be arrogant to doubt me now…”

    I thought about the last decade. I had been homeless. Addicted. Crazy. I had experienced an isolation so complete that I had imprisoned myself within myself. Solitary confinement is thought to be a cruel and unusual form of punishment. I had been in jail and psychiatric hospitals, but the thickest walls that have ever held me were my own skull.

    “I’ve brought you this far…”

    I don’t know whether God spoke the words, or if they came from the highest place within me, but the fear diminished enough for me to sign the lease, hire some help, and move into my Plum Street Garden apartment. It’s been over a year, and it’s been the most complete year that I’ve ever lived.

    • says

      Tony, I’m so inspired by this. I was going to quote back to you the first couple of lines because I loved them so much, then the first paragraph, but then as I went on, I realized I’d be quoting the whole damn piece back to you. Thank you writing it, for sharing so honestly, and for coming back a second week to post here. I love what you wrote and it is personally inspiring to me since I share some of those fears and have never faced them as boldly as you describe here.

    • Hazel says

      What Laura said!
      I really enjoyed your piece and I concur with your statement: ” the thickest walls that have ever held me were my own skull. ”

      Thank you for sharing.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Tony, what can I say that isn’t repeating everyone else? Hell! Let’s forget that: I am blown away by this piece. Trust me, I don’t take it frivolously. I haven’t been in jail but I’ve stayed in psych hospitals, been homeless, labelled, and been locked inside my own head. I just love this quote: “… but the thickest walls that have ever held me were my own skull.” I’m so happy you have a home now and that it has been nurturing for you. Take care and please keep coming back.

    • Polly says

      Tony, I especially love the line, “the thickest walls that have ever held me were my own skull.” Profound, and entirely relatable. Thanks for bringing us along on this journey to your newfound freedom. This was so well written.

    • Diana says

      I loved you God voice “I’ve brought you this far”. I found hope and joy in the ending with the year alone being the most complete.

    • Judy says

      Tony, What a ride and vivid picture of loneliness, both real and in our heads. Loved the line ‘the thickest wall……’ thank you for the honest and last line.

      • cissy says

        Tony, What a victory piece and for those of us who want to partner from a place of solidness, it’s super encouraging. Thank you for the gift and the example. And of course, the writing. Cissy

  5. Hazel says

    In response to the writer of the prompt, Canadians love to line up, it is practically the national pastime so I suppose his analogy was appropriate. I, however, find it a bit strange and it made me smile.

    I think there are two aspects of loneliness. The first one is aloneness, being alone with myself has always been easy. I love having time with myself to do the things that I love to do, usually some artistic endeavor, or writing. I treasure those times. But, this second aspect of loneliness is the depression that comes from feeling separated from others, loved ones, acquaintances, the human race in general.

    When I feel lonely it usually begins insidiously with checking my e-mail and finding that the only thing there is advertising and such with no personal e-mails. I begin wondering why my loved ones can’t at least send me a quick note just to say, “Hey, how you doin’?”; “What’s up?”; anything to let me know they are still alive and think about me once in a while. After a day or two I begin to notice that there are no signs that I ever knew anyone. I listen to the traffic that goes by my house each day and I wonder who all those people are; who do they know? Who do they communicate with? I call everyone I know on the phone and they are all happy to hear from me, but they don’t call me. I look at my beautiful yard and wonder if anyone but me will ever see it and enjoy it. Why did I create it? I have a cozy little place, why does no one ever come to visit. Then I spiral into that black hole of questioning nature and the nature of being.

    Loneliness for me is like a black-hole-tornado. I get sucked in, spun around for a while, until I don’t know who I am or why I am here and then I am set down in a whole different place. I am happy and content for a while and then another tornado comes along. The worst loneliness/depressions have resulted from traumatic events, i.e. escaping a victimizing situation, and many serious physically debilitating events.

    • Ilana says

      Hazel- I love your imagery and a lot of what you say resonates with me. Sometimes my loneliness begins with checking my e-mail to find the only thing in my box is an advertisement. I once wrote about “the phone that taunted me with its silence.” I also agree with you about loving the private “alone with myself” time. (stealing an hour of it right now ;) ) Thanks for your post. I enjoyed it greatly. IM

    • says

      Hazel, your description of loneliness was so compelling, it almost took my breath away, “After a day or two I begin to notice that there are no signs I ever knew anyone.” A beautiful description of a very painful (and luckily transitory) emotion.

      • Tony del Zompo says

        i like how you differentiate loneliness from aloneness. i love my aloneness, and i usually take this time to be in a forest somewhere. loneliness usually creeps up on me at bedtime.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Fran, I must say, as a Canadian, I loathe queuing up and have tons more to do with my time. :) Like others, I love your descriptions so much! They echo exact thoughts I’ve had while living alone. I also can’t help but highlight the quote, “After a day or two I begin to notice that there are no signs that I ever knew anyone.” As I read it aloud, that line choked me up. Very moving post. Thanks, Fran.

    • Polly says

      Hazel, this resonates. (And as a way-too-polite Canadian, I like the connection you made with the writer and lining up!) Thank you for sharing your insight in terms of what it is to be alone vs. what feeling lonely actually means. You brought me along on this emotional journey and I thank you for that.

    • Hazel says

      Thank you all for your comments.

      I feel less lonely knowing others have the same feelings, at least sometimes. When I first started using e-mail and being on the web I felt more connected because everyone was excited about this new way to communicate but others seem to have moved on and I am stuck here. I don’t like Facebook and I don’t text. So like my typewriter, I am stuck in an old technology. Alone. Lonely.

    • Judy says

      Hazel, I love this piece. The second graph says it all for me–NO, the four graphs say it all. Once again, your humor, honesty and wisdom shine like a beacon here. Thank you so much this lovely piece.

    • Gayle says

      I like the way you differentiated between aloneness and loneliness–I certainly relate to what you wrote about the second, the disconnect with others until you wonder if there really are others who care about you out there. I’m learning about how to enjoy the aloneness…you make it sound joyful. Thank you.

      • cissy says

        Powerful. The image of a garden that no one else but you might see, a home that is cozy but without visitors and people happy to hear from you but who don’t call. I could feel a sense of questioning and loneliness. Cissy

  6. Ilana says

    Standing in Line, I am Lost.

    In a stifling hot room, surrounded by people I’d never met before, people who scared me, I finally spoke the truth. “I miss my parents.” I was in group therapy for the first time and it was our very first session. I was terrified but the truth had to come out. It was surging its way to the top, bubbling out of me and I could not stop it. The facilitator had asked me, point blank, why I was there. I had a choice, I knew. He would have accepted it if I’d told him I was not ready to share yet. But I couldn’t help myself. I needed to say it, all of it. “I am a survivor of incest. While my parents were not my primary abusers I was not okay with how they handled what my brother did to me so I’ve kicked them out of my life and now I miss them. I want to find a way to start to let them back in. I miss my parents.”

    That was the first time I’d said it aloud. It was a huge relief to finally admit it. I wanted to say it over and over again, even in this group of strangers who intimidated me so much. Yes, I had hated my parents for what they did to me. Yes, I had hated them for what they didn’t do to help me. Those things remained the same. I still had so much rage to deal with, so much hurt and betrayal. But that didn’t change the truth. For the first time in almost two years, I missed my parents.

    So that is my loneliness. Right now, anyway. It’s all so confusing to me. I’m angry, furious even, so hurt and betrayed but I miss them. I miss seeing their faces but when I try to imagine actually interacting with them the rage pours through me again. What would we talk about? How my mother disapproves of my clothes or how they think I should raise my children? Would it be all that unsolicited advice I’ve gotten for the last 9+ years that I’ve been a mother? I can’t see myself not fighting to win their approval. I don’t know how to do this. I used to wish for this confusion, to feel anything positive towards my parents but now it is leaving me just so lonely.

    How do normal healthy grown children interact with their parents? How?

    In his quote Richard Ford compares loneliness to a long line that never seems to move. It feels like my line will never move. I know it can’t move until I deal with all of my anger, hatred and betrayal. I am nowhere near ready to forgive. I’m too scared to scream and shout, hold them responsible for the covert abuse they perpetrated on me. I’m equally afraid to rage at them for not protecting me from my brother, for belittling, dismissing and blaming me for the incest and the violence. They have implied that they are willing to sit down with a family therapist but I cannot see them doing anything but defending themselves. That, I may not survive.

    Frightened, confused, lost and lonely. I’m standing in that line and it’s the only place for me to be honest. I cannot afford to be anything but honest. If I let them off the hook, pretend to forgive them before I’m ready it would be suicide. To dismiss myself the way they have always dismissed me would certainly kill me. It would undo all the successes I’ve struggled so hard for over the last two years. And the question remains, how can I love these two people while they still acknowledge that awful man as their son? They still love him! How dare they!? He assaulted their daughter, over and over again. He brutalized me and sexually assaulted me and the bastard is a sexual harassment attorney! The hypocrisy of it all and they still love him! How am I supposed to connect with them?

    How? How? How?

    I have no answer. I don’t know what to do. So I stay in this line and wait, fearing it will never move and knowing that the stalemate is all my fault. It’s my fault because I cannot find a way to make it move. I can’t make things right in my own mind and that has to be the first step. I don’t know what to do. So lost, so afraid and so alone. I can only hope that I’m also wrong; that there is a way to make things right without compromising myself. And that someday, if I keep working, keep trusting my process, the truth will reveal itself to me. Maybe then, my line will finally move.

    • Polly says

      Ilana, I think your desire to reconnect with your parents is noble, and I understand your missing them. It sounds so painful. I have a feeling you will know when you’re ready, and when you decide that the time is right, it will be. Just believe in and stay true to yourself.

    • says

      Ilana, thanks for sharing your awful dilemma with us. There is no easy resolution for your conflicting feelings. The only thing you can do is go through your process, make yourself big enough to make it okay to have the conflicting feelings–to let them coexist in a messy, unintelligible, confusing soup. You need time and healing and to be your own focus. I know it feels like this is all you’ve been thinking about for a long time, but you’re still early in the healing process and you don’t know what the future will bring. I have managed to find healing with my family when I never thought it possible, but that certainly doesn’t happen for everyone. I do know that setting clear boundaries is an important part of the process (I don’t want to hear your comments or advice about my parenting, etc). But that doesn’t mean they will be respected and then that gives you more information about what’s possible. When you’re ready–and you may not be for a long time, I suggest you read I Thought We’d Never Speak Again. It does not advocate one outcome or path, but it does showcase a wide variety of strategies that people have tried to find peace in these awful situations–sometimes those resolutions involve the other people and sometimes they don’t. But I do believe at some time, regardless of what happens with your parents, that you can get to place of feeling less tormented and more acceptance of what you cannot change and the way things are.

    • Judy says

      As others have said, this deep trauma healing takes time and works in its own time. You will know when it happens. It’s always messy, not wrapped up in a nice neat package. I have great empathy for your conflict. As a teen, when I asked my mom why she didn’t divorce dad, she stared at me, slapped my face and said, ‘didn’t ever ask that again.’ It took three years to get the hell out of there, but to this day I miss do her. Blessed be, Ilana.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Ilana, what can I add here? I was once advised by a mother like figure in my life, “When you don’t know what to do, do nothing.” This was vital to me because it saved me from making a move with my mom and her horrid husband or my sister and then being trapped into something harmful for me. No doubt, many factors differ for each of us and there is no expedite on recovery. How I wished. Sending you encouragement, steadiness and a loving sister’s touch.

    • Diana says

      Hi Ilana,
      I’ve read this piece several times. Each time I come away feeling the confusion, mixed emotions and the lonliness of wanting your parents. I loved the ending “that there is a way to make things right without compromising myself”

    • Adrienne Drake says

      Ilana, a wonderful amd compelling piece, and I have no doubt that with the honesty of your searching you will find your way.

  7. Fran Stekoll says

    I am an only child=lonely= totally alone
    That;s why I write, keep busy from dawn till night
    Until the next day dawns
    I hold the tree inside me
    there’ll be no well of tears
    the flow of thoughts are hidden
    My thoughts and cares are bare
    the clouds remain above me
    Eternity seems like now
    the book inside was written
    Until the next day dawns
    this time of life is gone

    • Ilana says

      Fran- It’s beautiful. I love it when someone can take a prompt and respond with a poem. That’s not something I’m capable of just yet and to read yours is an inspiration. IM

    • Terry Gibson says

      Dearest Fran, I am so glad you are a part of this community! Your words reveal tidbits of truth to me each and every time. I love your poetry as it always startles me somehow, and stirs me emotionally. Thanks so much, Fran. Take good care.

  8. Diana says

    She had made a terrible mistake. She sat on her graying white sofa, the thin threads of pastel green, blue and pink obscured by dinginess. She ran her fingertips over the course raised seams. She stared out the picture window and watched the fog creep across the sky. The gray miasma overtook the clear blue atmosphere. It seemed to reflect the turning in her own soul.

    Three days ago she had stood under the same idealic blue sky, shaded by a cathedral of redwoods. Dressed in a white satin dress she had made herself, her best friend escorted her down a narrow dusty foot trail. Treading carefully in her high heels over the forest detritus of moss, redwood needles and pine cones, she entered the clearing. She smiled and scanned the faces watching her. Waiting for her arrival were the people she loved and cared for the most. They had all come for her. Their faces gleamed radiant and she radiated back to them. She had never felt more beautiful or more loved.

    Her friend helped her across the forest floor to meet her groom. In the wood scented breeze, under an arch of redwood branches, they said their vows and were married. She had made a terrible mistake.

    The sky ensconced by grey, the fog misting to the earth, she reflected on the moment she realized her error. She had been basking in the bridal attention from her wedding guests. She felt loved, accepted and enjoyed a sense of comfort and belonging she had never experienced. She walked up to her groom. He was engaged in jovial banter with high school friends. He frowned at her request, brushed off her grasp and continued with his friends. Her heart dropped. Everything became clear.

    Her groom, a single dad with two young children had started dating her after she applied for a nanny position in his home. She had not gotten the job. They dated for a year, occasionally bring the children along. She had mistaken desperation for interest. They were all desperate to fill the “mom” role in this fractured unit. He didn’t want a wife. He wanted someone to make school lunches, make sure teeth were brushed, homework done and underwear clean. With the “mom” task handled by the person now in the position, he would be free to pursue his interest.

    As she sat listening to the fog overtake the earth, he was out surfing, golfing or who knew what. She wasn’t angry. She felt shrouded in loneliness, cut off and detached even from herself. She was now an actress in her own life.

    A year later the detachment became depression. The daily fog from the ocean seemed to bear weight and push her into the ground. When her therapist asked if she had thoughts of suicide, she said she wanted to float away. He recommended Prozac.

    She didn’t want to die or take Prozac. She wanted to walk away from her life. She wanted to float across the ocean, emerge on another shore, washed clean. Her mistake behind her across the vast waters.

    • says

      Diana, you captured me from the first line of this evocative portrait of despair and loneliness. I felt so much for this character–and the horrible situation she found herself in. I was really rooting for her…so glad she saw what she was getting into before it was too late.

    • Hazel says

      Dianna,
      WOW, This is a very well written piece. You grabbed me with the first line. Sometimes the minute I do a thing I know it was wrong and I can relate to your character’s realization in the third paragraph: “She had made a terrible mistake.” I can also relate to the last paragraph: “She didn’t want to die or take Prozac. She wanted to walk away from her life. ” I have found that if I look for that tiny crack of hope I can pry it open and there is another life on the other side. Maybe it will not be perfect either but certainly it will be different . . . and perhaps I will not feel so lonely . . . at least for a while.

      Good piece, thank you for sharing.

    • Judy says

      Diana, Your piece grabbed me from the first sentence and again and again as I read on. What a vivid picture of the fog, smell of the redwoods and the grip of having made a mistake. Love this sentence….”She felt shrouded in loneliness, cut off and detached even from herself. She was now an actress in her own life” Beautiful character development with beautiful illustrative ending. Thank you for sharing.

    • Gayle says

      So vivid, that realization of the mistake. I relate to ‘cut off and detached even from herself…an actress in her own life’. After leaving two marriages for the same reason, I found that speaking up, instead of fading away, was the answer for me.

    • Ilana says

      Wow!! Diana that was so beautiful. Stirring and amazing. I could see the whole picture; her joy at the wedding and her sadness when she realized what had happened. Truly a work of art. IM

    • Terry Gibson says

      Diana, this story was gripping for me. I can only ditto what everybody else has said. So I focused primarily on the presence, movements, and oppression of the fog and sky. How it revealed so much, complimenting the unfortunate, sad unfolding of this protagonist’s story. I loved this line, “The daily fog from the ocean seemed to bear weight and push her into the ground.” For me, the doctor’s suggestion of taking Prozac grinds her more deeply into the ground. Thanks for this poignant and sad tale.

    • Polly says

      Diana, this piece is haunting. I can relate to those moments where I realize that choices I’ve made were not in my own best interest. I love how descriptive you were in this piece, how you pulled us into the bride’s consciousness. I like how the fog seems to be a motif of sorts – of isolation and absolute alone-ness. This was beautifully done. Thank you.

  9. Adrienne Drake says

    The stiff plastic covering crackled noisely as I tossed and turned on the uncomfortable roll-out bed in my father’s newly rented apartment. Unfamiliar mattress buttons embedded themselves into my tender six-year-old’s flesh. It was a swealtering record breaking summer night in Los Angeles. The dusty overhead kitchen fan’s wooshing blades were not nearly strong enough to propel any breeze into the living room where I was trying to sleep. The screenless windows were all wide open, yet there was not a hint of fresh air to carry my perspiration away. My moist night clothes clung to the mattress protector like wet tissue paper on tile. I could hear my father snoring in the single bedroom. My brother was sleeping on the floor with him and his sibilent respirations signaled to me that he had finally nodded off . Envious of their nocturnal oblivian, I knew I was not going to sleep that night.

    I was supposed to hate my father as much as my mother did and this was made perfectly clear to me as she grilled us earlier that day on how we were going to have to testify against him in divorce court. Now, lying on this roll away at my dad’s apartment, the dinner he had cooked for us that evening sat heavily on my stomach. I could not erase the image of the black flies which had feasted on the red blood sweating from the raw hamburger meat before my dad cooked it up.

    When my father left for India in pusuit of a PhD the year before, my mother hooked up with her college sweetheart. When my dad returned, my mother met him at the frontdoor with divorce papers clenched in her fist and she banished him from the house forever. I was secretely watching all this from the majestic winding staircase or our 15 room home. He never even crossed the threshold. He never had a chance.

    The apartment he found that day was withing walking distance of our house. As we walked there together, my brother and I were filled with eager anticipation of being able to see our father again. My brother agressively kicked at stones and hurt his foot in so doing. It was evening and the barking of familiar dogs welcoming their owners home was comforting . This was the same safe route we walked to school each day. But we were on a different mission now. We were spending our first night with our father since his expulsion from our home.

    As we sat down to diner that night, the bare kitchen light bulb cast harsh shadows across the airless room. The linoleum was filthy and dirt collected in the corners. The crome chair legs were uneven and I rocked back and forth. The red vinyl seats were cracked. Not knowing what to say, we took our spartan meal in silence. My dad’s red-rimmed eyes were downcast. His normally proud shoulders slumped forward in defeat. He was a beaten man. My brother looked forlorn. Scarcely eating, I absorbed the sorrow of the boy and the man before me. They were perfect reflections of each others suffering.

    Their utter lonliness descended upon me like a thick mantle. It was a cloak I would be unable to remove for years.

    • says

      Adrienne, you do a fine job of what is called “slanting the details,” choosing specific images and details that perfectly create the emotional mood of the piece. Bravo. This is a vivid portrait of the loneliness and despair the child you experienced. All the details work together to create the exact mood you wanted to create.

      • Adrienne Drake says

        Thank you Laura. When I am right on top of a piece of work, I have absolutely no idea if it is working or not!

    • Judy says

      Adrienne, your piece blew me away! Vivid. Alive. This caused me to weep… ‘My dad’s red-rimmed eyes were downcast. His normally proud shoulders slumped forward in defeat. He was a beaten man. My brother looked forlorn. Scarcely eating, I absorbed the sorrow of the boy and the man before me. They were perfect reflections of each others suffering.’ Great tenderness in this piece. Thank you.

      • Adrienne Drake says

        Thank you Judy. I am so glad the tenderness came across because for years I had been able to feel only apathy and anger.

    • Gayle says

      Your piece was so complex, beautifully written from the child’s point of view yet wise beyond her years. I liked the information tucked neatly into the story, which gave the whole picture of the situation–the 15 room house vs the apartment, the mother with boyfriend, father couldn’t even ‘cross the threshold’ and ‘expulsion’, the same path to school–so rich in imagery, and the sadness watching father and brother which ‘cloaked’ you for years.

      • Adrienne Drake says

        Thank you Gayle. It is very rewarding to know that what I am trying to say is getting across.

    • Diana says

      Adrienne,
      The opening paragraph immediatley took me back to my own childhood. I slept on the same bed at my grandmother’s after my parents divorce. You so vividy and emotionally took into the divorce from the child POV.
      Loved it.
      Diana

      • Adrienne Drake says

        Thank you for writing Diane. If only the roll away beds of the world could speak, they would tell us volumes! I am glad the imagery was evocative for you. In Shadowlands, CS Lewis states to his students, “We read to know we are not alone.” Perhaps that is also why we write.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Adrienne, what images your story has floating in my head. The scenes of your Dad’s place are so real to me, I can’t stop wanting more–as well as the stories clinging to the gritty layers on the room’s walls. Extremely vivid. Thank you!

      • Adrienne Drake says

        Terry, your response now also has me wondering about what those walls could say if they could speak. Thanks for taking the time to write.

    • Polly says

      Adrienne, wow. My heart goes out to that child – that family, really. You told this so vividly that it took no effort to imagine the experiences and places you described. The characters came to life. Thank you.

      • Adrienne Drake says

        Thank you for your kind words. It is really validating that people take the time to comment went they have “gotten” a piece, or rather that the piece has “gotten” them.

    • Ilana says

      Wow Adrienne- I love the way you combine narrative, description and musings to paint such a deep and textured picture for us. I felt like I was completely immersed in the picture as I read it. Nicely done! IM

      • Adrienne Drake says

        Thank you, Ilana. It feels good to be able to connect here, where caring people immerse themselves in the experience of others.

  10. Deb Mansell says

    Loneliness is like a black cloud pressing down on me,
    It’s inside of me and out,
    It tugs at my sleeve when i walk into the light,

    Loneliness has been there for as long as I can remember.
    When my father shouted so loud and made my home unsafe
    I ran from the anger and found loneliness,
    The safety I sought was not safe but more abuse.

    My loneliness continued through my growing up as my uncle abused me sexually,
    Even in a crowded class room I felt like an outcast, alone,
    I couldn’t tell, I couldn’t speak,
    I with drew from every thing around me, I made all the out side noises but lived within my self.

    No-one else had seen my pain,
    No-one had been through the same as me,
    I was bad to the core.
    Different,

    • Judy says

      Deb, Love your first graph…it tugs at my sleeve when I walk into the light. So vivid. Thank you for sharing and do come back again and again.

    • Ilana says

      Deb- So beautifully put. What you said really resonated with me. Your pictures were so clear they were almost tangible and you brought me back to my own childhood. Startling. Welcome to our community. I hope you visit often. IM

    • Terry Gibson says

      Deb, as I read this three times, what resonated the deepest with me with was the word “different.” In that, I feel the essence of it all. The loneliness born of being estranged from everything and everyone, including yourself. If any doubts tug at you, you are different in your uniqueness to this world. However, you are not, in the sense that many struggle with similar feelings of loneliness and pain, with me being one. Healing can happen so please try to tend to yourself with gentleness and love.

  11. Gayle says

    You are my hero! I have never lived alone, but have found such loneliness in the presence of others–after 63 years, I am standing at the precipice, waiting to leap. Your story gave me courage.

  12. Gayle says

    “I had assumed we would become friends,” I thought to myself. Then I heard my ex-husband’s voice in my head, “you know what they say about ‘assume’, don’t you? It makes an ass out of u and me”. I moved to Tucson to be close to my best friend of 35 years. I found a room for rent in a co-housing community. The old hippie in me cried out for connection, and this seemed like the perfect fit. Julie, who owned the home, showed me a large adobe bedroom which had a private patio with an expansive view of the desert, including a majestic saguaro which housed small birds. She impressed upon me that this was a ‘rental of a room’ and not a house sharing venture. She told me that she worked all day and got home late, so we wouldn’t be eating together. She wanted to make sure that I understood the parameters. I told her that I had been living at my brother and sister-in-law’s for over a year after leaving my husband, staying in one of their children’s rooms.. I made the best of it there, I could do that here. So, I signed the lease.

    Weeks became months as I explored my new home town. I was like a kid in a candy store. After nearly complete isolation for the 15 years of enduring an abusive and controlling relationship, I was free to say ‘yes’ to new adventure. I signed up for every Meetup Group that seemed interesting to me. Have GPS will travel. Tucson is spread out and every place I set out for was at least 1/2 hour away. No matter, I was loving my freedom. I met many people, mostly older women looking for something to fill their lives. After awhile, the groups became routine, and empty. Each was isolated and didn’t lead to anything meaningful.

    I’d come home to find Julie on the couch, clicking through channels on her small TV. Seems that computer people all like the same thing–sci fi and history channel. I had come from a year of that at my brother’s. Julie wasn’t one for conversation. She didn’t invite me to watch TV with her. So I’d say ‘good night’ and retreat to my room. My world had become very small, again. Opportunities for connection became obligations in co-housing. No home of my own to invite others over, meant I wasn’t invited to others’ homes. Community meals weren’t joyful events–people would eat, make small talk, then leave, while I and a few others took care of the cleanup. The once idealistic view of communal life had become tarnished.

    My best friend had been cold and distant since I moved here. The plans to go to the theater together, take trips and enjoy the closeness of our friendship, which endured through long separations and changing life circumstances, seemed to dissipate like water in this desolate desert. She called me early one morning, ranting about being the victim and apparently, I was the villain in her scenario. She cut me off without a discussion of how I might have offended her. She later wrote me an email telling me to never call or write to her or her family again. I was dumbfounded–’really?….really?… this is how you treat a friend?’ She was the reason I moved here, and within four months, she was out of my life forever. She left a large hole in my heart. I had thought I went through ‘the dark night of the soul’ stuff when I left my husband, but I keep falling, letting go, letting go of everything and everybody I once knew.

    So, I sit at the kitchen table, dry toast in my dry mouth, unable to swallow. I had hoped to create a friendship with Julie, but only her old orange cat, Honey, pays me any attention. I guess my ex was right about one thing–assuming does make an ass out of u and me.

    • Judy says

      Gayle, What a painful story of betrayal. Your vivid images took us deeper. Thank you for sharing this piece.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Gayle, this is painful to read. Knowing you, makes it even more sad. I’m going through a close to total estrangement from a dear friend and having a hard time too, so I can relate. I’m so sorry this is how Tucson turned out thus far. It’s always crazy-making to get total hostility and blame out of nowhere from a friend. Sending you good energy and hopes for better things.

    • Diana says

      Gayle,
      I felt all you hope and sadness as you marriage ended and you longed for a deeper connection with a friend and then the deep lonliness when the relationship ended.
      Diana

    • Polly says

      Gayle, that sounds so difficult. It is painful to lose a close friend. I admire your resilience in seeking out others to connect with, and your bravery in travelling somewhere new by yourself. I hope you are able to find a community. This was very well written.

    • Adrienne Drake says

      Dear Gayle,
      What a compelling story of hope and betrayal, and yet I feel though wiser, you are not embittered by this experience. I admire your resilience in the face of this incomprehensible abandonment by your friend. It is more about her than it is about you.
      Thanks for sharing.

  13. Gayle says

    and, here is another, written 2 years ago at Laura’s Commonweal Retreat:

    Loneliness sits on the edge of the bed,
    A wisp of a thing, with cow-like eyes
    And long tumble weed hair
    Her bare feet brush the floor
    As she swings them gently
    Running away, going nowhere

    For a time, she sought the solace of food,
    Gorging her empty soul
    Filling every space
    Until her body swelled like a tight balloon
    The food had no taste,
    No sensuality to the creamy chocolate pudding
    That swirled on her tongue
    No satisfaction from the crunch of the salty chips
    That danced in her mouth
    And chattered in her ears
    There was no end to the hunger–
    Like a deep well,
    She threw in bites like coins to wish on
    Until her pockets were empty
    Her clothing began to choke her
    She lumbered as she tried to catch a breath
    Her heartbeat drummed on her temples

    Now she appears so small,
    Childlike, really
    Hiding under the table
    Disappearing into the wall
    Those large sullen eyes
    Are all that is left of her
    Shallow breathing…
    Quiet…
    So quiet…
    She wants to reach out
    To the large legs passing by,
    Feels the material of a skirt,
    Like Fall leaves in the wind
    Tickling her coiled body
    But fear keeps her frozen…
    Quiet…

  14. Zoe Elizabeth says

    Loneliness is the bubble I lock myself into. I tell myself I am too good for the group. I tell myself I am not good enough for the group. I am not like other people and so I will not fit in. I am so ordinary, I have nothing to contribute. Loneliness is my scape goat. It is the place I go when I think it is about me expressing me and not about the nameless, wordless, powerful, beautiful, formless presence expressing itself through me. Lonliness is where I go when I am afraid. It is the cloak I put on just before my birthday when I am sure no one will remember. I am Molly Ringwald. It is my sweet 16, but Jake is never going to show up. It is the story I am telling myself on Christmas and Valentines day and now this year for the first time on Mother’s day. The story goes something like, yeah well no one ever shows up for you. No one really loves you. If I could only get a little breathing room from this tragedy I am sure the drama of my life would become a comedy. But the thing about loneliness is that when I am in it, I am so damn comfortable. I am so damn free from responsibility.

    That is my self wallowing loneliness, but there is another loneliness a deeper loneliness and the is the loneliness of the spiritual seeker, the loneliness of choosing the inner life over the outer life, the loneliness of forsaking blame and instead choosing forgiveness. This path is so rich and yet on it I am alone. Because there is no one who can take me to the still corners of my mind, there is no one who can unlock the unbound love of my heart, the is no one who can teach me the secret truths of the universe. There are those I can watch and learn from and by those I mean everyone becasue at our nature we are all seekers, we are all awakened ones who have momentarily forgotten our way. So there are those I can watch and sometimes walk next to, but this journey is a solo journey.

    • says

      Zoe, welcome to the Roadmap blog. I’m so happy to see you here! I’ve missed you and your wonderful writing voice. I’m so glad there’s this new way to connect virtually. I love what you had to say about the different kinds of loneliness. I’m sure you are only scratching the surface on all the types of loneliness we humans experience.

    • Polly says

      Zoe, thank you for sharing this. I definitely “get” the first type of loneliness you describe here. I really enjoyed the next place you brought it to: “This path is so rich and yet on it I am alone. Because there is no one who can take me to the still corners of my mind, there is no one who can unlock the unbound love of my heart, the is no one who can teach me the secret truths of the universe.” I think it really all is a journey that we each have to navigate for ourselves. That’s not something others can necessarily provide even when they are fully there for us. You might have just taught me a few things. Thank you.

    • Judy says

      Zoe, I really enjoyed this reading. These two lines are standouts for me: ‘it is the cloak I put on just before my birthday….’ and
      ‘…..it is so rich and yet on it I am alone.’ Finding that comfort is always a surprise for me. Thanks for sharing this piece.

  15. Michael says

    Loneliness for me is served in two ways, the known and the unknown. The first course, known, was served to me a little over a week ago when my best canine companion, Sky, had given all she could and with her body failing and spirit flagging, I released her to chase horses and cows and keep order to wherever she was headed next.

    I was relatively newly divorced when the universe saw fit to put Sky and I together. Her life up to that point had likely been difficult with some apparent abuse and when she and I met and I gave her a hug, she leaned into me and grunted satisfaction and gave a deep satisfying sigh that seemed to say, “Ah, at last, I’m home”. And, as is the case with many rescue dogs, she knew she was with her forever human and claimed her place.

    She went everywhere with me and I mean everywhere. From my then home base in Santa Barbara, to Los Angeles, Orange County, the Bay Area, it didn’t matter. Once I put my shoes on, she was at the front door as if to say, “Where are we going today?”. She ruled the world from her side windows and shouted instructions to all animals once sighted, especially horses and cattle. We would go to the park almost every day where she was known as the puppy police in that she wouldn’t tolerate any fighting between other dogs and would go and break it up by barking and, if that didn’t work, grabbing one of the offenders by the back of the neck and taking them down.

    She kept me present and engaged with others, by her friendliness and loving nature, when on my own I might have retreated to my home and not ventured out except to work and shop for food. She taught me so much, especially how to be in the moment and appreciate the wonder of it all. With Sky, I was never truly lonely as she seemed to know when I was sad and would come over and put her nose under my hand and in her way tell me that giving her some love would be good for both of us. She was always right.

    And now that she’s gone, her spirit is everywhere I look, and while the sadness is slowly ebbing and I no longer expect her to come walking in to check on me, there is a profound emptiness in the house and the car and I know what that loneliness feels like.

    My best friend wrote this at the moment of Sky’s passing. She captured it all:

    Sky
    Beautiful Sky
    Soft and Gentle
    Holding a man
    Being the light
    When he was down
    Bringing the life
    Back to him

    Sky
    Beautiful Sky
    Playful and fun
    Giving him a reason
    To go outside
    Connect with others
    Bringing the life
    Back to him

    Sky
    Beautiful Sky
    Wise and Ancient
    You’ve done your job
    Healed him well
    Thank you
    For your gift
    Bringing the life
    Back to him

    Sky
    Beautiful Sky
    Tired and Worn
    Time to go home
    To heal yourself
    We’ll always remember
    You bringing the life
    Back to us

    Thank you, Gayle.

    The second course of loneliness, the unknown, is much harder for me to handle. It’s the loneliness of my imagination. The ‘worst case scenario thinking’ that I do to myself when looking at a future that isn’t here yet. Those moments of fear and uncertainty that creep into my head when I’m not paying attention or reading the tea leaves of my life that invariably are mistaken. I am fighting this and it’s a slow, and lonely, process at times. It is, however, with the help of my closest friend getting better. Hopefully for both of us.

    • Diana says

      I related to your tribute of Sky. As a dog lover I can relate to how they can be a true and steadfast friend; breaking lonliness and then lonliness coming back when they are no longer there.

    • says

      Michael, you really captured so well what a canine companion can offer–so much more than “being a pet.” And as a result of your vivid description, the loss was palpable. The second kind of loneliness you refer to is part of the human condition we’re all familiar with–it’s an existential aloneness and one of the things we all have to learn to sit with in life. I appreciate you including it in your piece.

    • Judy says

      How glorious Sky walked through your life to give comfort and receive your loving care. This line rocks, “She ruled the world from her side windows and shouted instructions to all animals once sighted, especially horses and cattle.” And what a good friend you have in Gayle for the tribute to Sky. Thank you for sharing, Michael.

      • Michael says

        Thank you, Judy. When Gayle and Sky met, it was mutual love at first sight. I used to tell Gayle that Sky was obviously her dog but living with me. At the end, I was able to hold Sky up to the camera while on Skype so Gayle could say goodbye. It helped all of us.

    • Polly says

      Michael, this piece simultaneously broke my heart and uplifted and inspired me when I read it the other night. The unconditional, enthusiastic love of a dog is something that I believe no human can ever quite match. Thank you so much for sharing this piece. I’m so glad Sky was able to touch your life, and you hers.

      • Michael says

        I very much appreciate your words, Polly. Sky was an angel in an Aussie Shepherd suit. She had an amazing positive effect on everyone who met her.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Michael, thanks for sharing this with us. It stirred in me my brother’s love for his dog, which was abused when he first went into the hospital (never to return home). I’d almost forgotten how his wounded spirit shone through his green eyes after they put her down. Thankfully, those people were charged for this and found guilty. Rescuing animals is something I respect very much. I’m happy that you and your close friend are helping each other through. Take care.

      • Michael says

        Thank you, Terry. Your comments, and everyone’s, really help as an impetus to keep writing and sharing. The positive feedback somehow makes it even more real inside. Very powerful as I know you know. It doesn’t hurt to have a best friend like Gayle, either.

  16. Judy says

    Tell me about your loneliness

    I wrote a letter to my loneliness last week asking,
    what do you do when you are lonely?
    Come visit me?

    Are you forlorn when I’m unavailable,
    comfortable in my solitude?

    Are you isolated? Feel desolated and dejected?

    Let us strike a deal.

    When you feel the need to come me,
    give a 24 hour notice.

    I’ll invite your antonym……oh wait………is there one?

    The kettle is on………….come as you are.

    We could use some conversation.

    • says

      Judy, I love this conversation and all that it implies about your comfort with your own solitude and your acceptance of loneliness as a fact of life. Thanks for sharing it!

      • Judy says

        Laura, Thank you very much. Never really sure where writing goes when I just close my eyes and go.

    • Terry Gibson says

      This is fantastic, Judy. It’s nice that you invited the reader to take a peek at it from a different anger. Just love it! :)

    • Polly says

      Judy, I love it that you decided to consider the fact that your loneliness might be lonely. Absolutely fantastic. The notion that you can find company in your loneliness amazes me. Mind blown. Thank you.

    • Ilana says

      That’s great, Judy- I love the peace that came over me as I read. I would like to, one day, be so comfortable with loneliness that I can say, “I’ll put the kettle on…” Nice job! IM

  17. mariah says

    my loneliness is a sharp-toothed shapeshifter, draped in a robe
    of ever-changing colors.
    she bares her jelly-red wail when I realize
    that my since-March therapist is the one form of consistency
    that I have received in my 21 years, and
    she’s paid to provide the empathy I’ve always silently cried for. (Bless her.)

    I constantly battle with my loneliness, for it reduces me
    to raw apathy, to sticky vulnerability.
    My loneliness is dangerously intertwined with
    that nagging chronic rage;
    a never-ending cycle, a double-edged halo.
    when my body betrays me, I feel lonely;
    flinching to the touch of a lover, spasms
    in the face of love. (Damn you.)

    As a child desperate for company, I
    bribed friendship from the older girls, with trays
    of cranberry juice and a hopeful smile. I was the kid
    who spent long homeschooled days climbing trees
    and attempting to make friends with birds. (It almost worked.)

    Although this war on my emotions has been waged for years, by
    myself and those who raised me,
    the stem cells of said loneliness have dripped through my pen onto
    canvas and paper, providing an escape and a chance
    to embrace. (Thank goodness.)

    • Terry Gibson says

      Mariah, this is an exquisite piece on loneliness. I know well most of what you describe and I am overwhelmed by your words. I also love the bracketed editorial voice at the end of each stanza. She reveals a sense of humour, anger and gratitude–even in view of all of that. Thanks so much!

      • mariah says

        Thank you so much for your response, Terry. it really brightened my evening, and that of the little-one hiding between the brackets! :)

        • Terry Gibson says

          Mariah, Thanks! You know? The people in this community have been brightening my days, evenings, storms, and even my dreams. It feels wonderful to know it keeps on giving. How lucky are we?!

    • says

      Mariah, you really capture the edge of loneliness here. I loved the part about making friends with birds…I do think that’s possible. I think we often underestimate the incredible connection we can have with animals–they give something humans cannot in terms of unconditional love. (well maybe not birds!).

      thank you for the vulnerability and raw honest of this piece. your writing is vivid and courageous.

    • Judy says

      Mariah, What a wonderful piece. Those first three lines blew me away, ‘she bares her jelly-red wail.’ Oh, yes, an artist of both pen and canvas. Thank you for sharing here.

    • Polly says

      Mariah, this was honest and lovely. Before you mentioned your age on here, I assumed you were older because you seem to have a lot of wisdom and understanding. (That is entirely beside the point and I hope that it’s okay for me to say; I felt that it warrented mentioning.) Thank you for sharing this part of your life and your experiences with all of us. You wrote it so well.

  18. Terry Gibson says

    Loneliness is the certainty that I have felt that way right down to my core for most of my life. It didn’t matter in whose company I was at any given time.

    It is seeing the child molesters, cheats, liars, and otherwise bad people in my family, thrive and live in comfort into their old age–while I could face homelessness and utter poverty in a heartbeat.

    Loneliness is realizing that being a good person—which matters to me–does not change reality or guarantee a thing. It does not mean everything is going to work out all right.

    It is seeing my in-laws’ faces light up when they see their youngest kid, my partner. Each time I witness this, I feel joy but sometimes I ache, wishing I could see that reflection too.

    Loneliness is digging more deeply into my being than ever before. Not being sure, I will make it. So deathly afraid I’ll fail. Moving heal-to-toe, heal-to-toe, each battered shoe gaining advantage from its match. Blinded by rain and sleet, I move like a sloth but without ceasing.

    It knows that the following two statements are true. (1) I always ‘made choices’ out of desperation—the lesser of two evils, sort of thing–not because I had a real option, in the true sense of the word. (2) I was always so terrified of being hurt again, that no matter how quietly I spoke my mind, if nobody thought it important enough to listen, I settled for that. I gave in, dismissing my fears and thoughts as trivial. I lived with men all wrong for me while in this state.

    Loneliness is the awkwardness I feel sometimes with people who would deem me not as good or important as others because I don’t have material things. Stuff to prove how well I’m doing in life. They view me a loser.

    It knows I lost decades of what are supposed to be the most exciting times in a young adult’s life. Time I cannot retrieve or somehow improve upon by slapping on a few coats of yellow paint.

    Loneliness knows I spent every waking moment hating and hurting myself. I wouldn’t even buy an end-of-season special on a cheap coat for the upcoming winter. Why would I think I would be alive a week later, let alone decades into the future?

    It knows, feels and sees that my body seems to have aged about three years in the last ten months; and knows, as well, that I’ve been crawling inward again for a self-protection of sorts.

    Loneliness is having moments where I face a friend of two decades and see a total stranger. Where our conversations become stilted, awkward, polite, like with someone we just met.

    It knows that Mom died before completing her book and that I don’t want that to be my future.

    Loneliness is having an editor ask, “Did you ever think you should be locked up in a hospital?” and loving it! I can communicate with the world, no longer a prisoner of my own skull. I used to be mute! Now I have the squeaky-new ability to share with people so fully, that his sense of it being perfectly fine to ask me that—was absolutely right. I was never so happy.

    It is allowing yourself to feel and burn and dance and work and push and work and strain and breathe, so deeply, while loving someone with whom ….

    Loneliness is embracing that experience with everything in you and savoring it, rocking it, cajoling and nurturing it, briefly–because you must let it go. Just rejoicing that you can FEEL.

    It is coming out on the other side of a horrendous period of self-sabotage and deep self-hatred. Surveying the damage. Some badly-chosen words. Exhaustion. No physical wounds or friends lost, I think. Still breathing.

    Loneliness is living on.

    • mariah says

      WOW, Terry, what a gripping, painful, and ultimately triumphant piece of writing! I couldn’t stop reading once I started. Thank you for sharing these heart-tugging and inspiring words that demonstrated to me great strength.

    • Debbie says

      Terry, this is a terrific piece of writing. Your descriptions evoke strong images and word choices tug at the heart. The fact that is not fiction makes it even more meaningful. Congratulations on the courage to feel AND write about it!

    • says

      Terry, I love the trajectory of this piece, especially the end where the loneliness led you out of itself. Thanks for giving us another gift of clarity, compassion and gut-wrenching tell-it-like-it-is-ness. You rock.

      • Terry Gibson says

        Laura, thanks a lot. I was pleased as it weaved along. I’m just feeling it all acutely then trying to let it wash off me like the soapy beads of water in the shower. Observing and learning. This blog has been everything to me!! :)

    • Judy says

      Pow! Wham! I couldn’t stop reading, Terry. So many strong words/ lines/graphs but this one really captured it for me……’Loneliness is having moments where I face a friend of two decades and see a total stranger. Where our conversations become stilted, awkward, polite, like with someone we just met.’ Thank you for raw, honest, and loving piece. Blessed be.

      • Terry Gibson says

        Judy, you made me laugh! Dance like a butterfly. Sting like a bee. I dare anyone to try to mess with me. Straight jab! TKO! And, bowing for my adoring fans … :) Thanks so much! It really means a lot to me.

    • Polly says

      Terry, this one grabbed me. The hurt you’ve experienced was palpable, raw, and real. Your ending: “loneliness is living on” inspired me. Thank you.

    • Hazel says

      Powerful! Terry, you led us through despair to rejoicing and “still breathing” what a journey. Thank you for the ride. Right there with you baby.

    • Ilana says

      Terry- This is amazing. I love how it carried me through. I got to see so many parts of your journey and then end up with such triumph. “Loneliness is living on.” Bravo! IM

      • Terry Gibson says

        Appreciate it, Ilana. Wow! This blog is growing! (Thanks Laura.) So this is what giving birth feels like! Just kidding. It’s just never too late though, is it? :)

    • Diana says

      Terry,
      This piece is to full and rich I am speechless. I feel like you took me on journey parts difficult and painful but landing in a hopeful place. You are amazing!

      Diana

      • Terry Gibson says

        Diana, now I’m feeling bashful. I ingest a compliment as if it were a five-year old potato chip, without the benefit of tepid water to wash it all down with. But, I can say a bursting-at-the-seams ‘Thank you, Diana!”

    • Adrienne Drake says

      Terry, so much of what you have to say is so familiar: the family full of bad actors that seem to thrive, while you fight so hard to simply “survive”; wishing you could receive the simple validation that your partner effortlessly enjoys from your in-laws; decades of your life lost through no fault of your own; finally finding your voice. Your last paragraph was particularly gripping “….coming out on the other side…..surveying the damage….still breathing.” Thanks for sharing your story with all of us. I will definately read your book!

      • Terry Gibson says

        I’m so touched by your comment, Adrienne! To me, being heard is being blessed with life. A chance to make things right, the way it would’ve been if nobody hurt or interfered with me. Thank you so much! I could not use enough exclamation marks with anyone to convey what I feel from all these responses.

  19. Polly says

    There is a profound and vast black hole where loneliness meets me at night. She whispers softly, and in moments, I welcome her. She reminds me of where I’ve been, and what could be; and doubt creeps in when she tells me fiercely where I’ll never go.

    Two nights ago, I saw clouds that appeared to have been painted on the night sky in water colour, and stars that I knew had to have been freckles that someone forgot to wear – freckles that had been lost. The sky looked lonely and beautiful and I took note of its exact appearance that night, knowing that I could write about it eventually, and that the sky and I might feel less lonely in that moment.

    Less abstractly, I feel a deep loneliness when I think of the dark family secrets that might never be revealed. I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist, but I know certain facts about my childhood household. I know my oldest brother molested me. I remember moments immediately before certain incidents, and then I remember darkness and a loud ringing in my ears. Then nothingness, being absolutely alone, even far away from myself. I remember one morning before school. There was black, and loud ringing in my ears, and then my mom was talking to me and I was eating cereal. I clearly remember thinking “How the heck did I get here?” and then trying to discern what my mother was saying to me, why I was suddenly sitting at the table having breakfast, when I had just gotten into the shower with my brother seconds before in the middle of the afternoon. I sound crazy … but I’m not.

    My oldest sister is quite possibly the sanest person I know. Once before my time – or preceding my consciousness at least – she held a knife out at my brother. Family legend has it that “she was just so crazy. She was nuts when she was younger!” My dad kicked her out at 15. He told her that he and my mother no longer wanted her there. He told my mother that my sister had just run away. There was a ridiculous level of secrecy in my house.

    As for my brother, in everything that he does, every time he causes shit, the summary is exactly the same, “Oh, he’s just being Chris.” There … I said his name.

    There’s a certain calm in being alone, a calm I occasionally welcome. There is also love around me that I must cling to, and embrace, and reciprocate more often. I can give of myself and all the love I have to offer. I can bask in its flow. One day, I can give a little more of that to me.

    • says

      Polly, I just adored your description of the sky: “Two nights ago, I saw clouds that appeared to have been painted on the night sky in water colour, and stars that I knew had to have been freckles that someone forgot to wear – freckles that had been lost.” It was fabulous. And I love the way you ended your piece, too, with the possibility of loving yourself more.

      • Polly says

        Laura, you know how to make a girl feel good. Thank you. It feels somewhat risky to write in that type of voice, but I really did enjoy writing especially the beginning of this piece. As always, it was great to read your feedback.

    • Judy says

      Polly, Beautifully done. The clouds and the sky descriptions are enchanting. Why not pluck one of those freckles, put it in your pocket as a reminder that you are a very brave woman and ‘bask in that flow?’

    • Terry Gibson says

      Polly, I’ve reread this several times. I already wrote a reply from my phone but lost it. Just as well. At this moment, I feel the conscientious, loving, hurting, loneliness and beauty of you. It brings me to tears as I type this in. A rage sparked when I read, “Oh, he’s just being Chris.” I’ve always had a combustible anger with that kind of off-handed comment, which hurts so much, pitting our feelings and truths against hundreds of years of institutionalized excuses and deflections. I hope you warm yourself in love and compassion always and secretly hope a big chunk of it comes from you.

      • Polly says

        Terry, thank you. Thanks for sharing how this made you feel. I honestly am not angry with the rest of my family – I think that the people in my family (mostly the older generation) who excuse his behaviour truly don’t know the extent of it. I also am still keeping my mouth shut and really won’t know what to expect from anyone until I speak up – if I do. I’m so afraid of breaking my mom’s heart if I ever tell. Anyway, that was quite a tangent on my part.

        Thank you also for the kind wishes. That means a lot.

        • Terry Gibson says

          Thanks for sharing that. Please let me apologize for that last sentence where I probably got carried away with my own anger. The last thing I would intend is to project my anger on you and your circumstances–or, on a side note, to offend any good men. Take care.

          • Polly says

            Aw. Nope, no apology needed, whatsoever. I really like the honesty. I just wanted to share what I felt. Seriously, thank you :)

    • Hazel says

      Your first two descriptive paragraphs painted such a fantastic picture, I wanted to go out and look at the stars but the sun is shining this morning. The good thing is the knowledge that they will be there again tonight. The good thing to is that you know that love is out there and you can “give a little more of that to me.”

      Loving myself is certainly a challenge.

      • Polly says

        Hazel, thank you. With the sheer talent that you possess, it feels really good to hear that compliment from you. Thank you for pointing out the comforting aspects as well. I appreciate it.

    • Ilana says

      Nice job, Polly. I loved your imagery; the description of the sky, the vast black hole of loneliness. I also really connected with “… There, I said his name.” I often feel the same way about Andrew but sharing his real name here is something I am not ready for. Partially because it is an unusual name and he could be found but also because he does not deserve for you guys to know his name. Thank you for this piece. I got a lot out of reading it. IM

      • Polly says

        Thank you, Ilana. I struggled with writing his name on this piece. I actually wanted to test myself in a way. I thought that maybe if I just wrote his (fortunately common) name, I could remove some of its power, and by extension some of his power. The truth is that once I posted it, I felt a great deal more raw and vulnerable from having done it. I’m not necessarily any worse for wear, but it was difficult, and not something I took lightly. In short, I fully understand and respect your reasoning, and I wouldn’t recommend rushing into it either :)

        I always truly appreciate your feedback. Thank you.

    • Diana says

      Hi Polly,
      I loved how you took this piece from the external description of the night sky (which is expertly done) to the darkness of your family.

    • Adrienne Drake says

      Polly, such a touching and moving story. May you reclaim all your lost freckles one day. I am sure, with your sensitivity, that you will.

      • Polly says

        Thanks Adrienne! That’s such a nice thought. I am absolutely humbled by everyone’s comments. Thank you.

  20. Missy says

    I have been alone so long that I often wonder if I could acclimate myself to living with a partner, which is something I have been yearning for many years. Being alone and isolated for so many years, having to do everything for myself, move, earn money, support my daughter myself, all the logistics of that and of life itself, that I am beginning to feel the toll that it is taking on my mental and physical health.

    I have learned especially recently to be careful with who I share my loneliness and how I share it. People who have never been alone or were alone once 30 years ago, oh, and “they totally understand how it is”. I get the “you have to love yourself first before you can love someone else” lecture, the “your better off alone”, “its not as good as its cracked up to be”, “the sex isn’t so great anyway”.

    Loneliness hurts.

    • says

      Missy, thanks for the honest portrait of your life–and for telling us all to be careful before we assume we know what someone else’s life is like.

    • Judy says

      Missy, Yes, loneliness hurts. And, finding people with whom to discuss it takes lots of trust and guts, so thanks for sharing and look forward to more of your posts.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Thank you for the post, Missy. I hear the hurt of your loneliness and your desire for change–when or if you’re in the right place and with the right kind of caring people. I can only imagine how you feel as the sole supporter of a child, the long hours, and seemingly endless work and exhaustion. I hope you keep posting here, where I found a salve to soothe and heal many of my own wounds. Take care.

    • Hazel says

      You are right on “loneliness hurts”. It can hurt just as much with people as without them. Sometimes I have felt more loneliness when someone is sitting right beside me as when I was alone.

      Thank you for sharing.

  21. cissy says

    When I pulled into my driveway it was gone. The title and the keys were right next to me in the car. But the boat was gone. It had filled my yard for almost a year. It was an F30 Trojan Cabin Cruiser.

    It’s kind of an emotional moment my ten-year old said. “Are you crying?” her friend asked from the back seat.

    “No,” she said. I felt the same. My eyes were dry but so was my heart.

    I walked on the dead grass beneath the ghost of a boat. Only my red ladder, the one I used as stairs to get on and off, was left standing. The grass was dead. There were dandelions growing by one corner. The neighbor’s vines crept into my yard. Pieces of wood were splintering out of the grass. The boat had been so heavy the planks were embedded in the ground and all that was left was scars and damage.

    It had been a joint purchases, the first thing we bought together as a couple and it housed our “us” dreams. We would have romantic times being rocked to bed by the ocean. We would have family times pulling our kids behind the boat. We would have creative times writing and playing guitar under moonlight.

    “I’ll have to charge you for the gas if there’s any in the tanks,” Paul from Continental Marine said before towing it away.

    “O.k.,” I said, “How much would that be?” Now, I have a spreadsheet of debt I track. I am resigned to paying the debt, learning the lessons even though I’m still angry. He was good on sharing concepts and footing the bill at the beginning. But it was me who got the tanks and the tarp to cover it in the winter, and cleaned up all the debris littered around it after we cleaned it. It was me who made over forty calls trying to get it donated, towed, moved and out of my yard.

    It was me who washed the side of the boat where he wrote on it placing a huge question mark on the side in blue permanent marker over a month after I broke it off. It was me who used nail polish remover to get the hull white again.

    Because of my neighbor who told me he vandalized the boat before backing into it, I was able to clean up his mess before my daughter got home. But there is nothing to clean the knowledge that I loved a man who may have knocked over our boat causing damage to my house and my neighbor’s, who used permanent marker on my heart and who has a disease more captivating than health, hope or love.

    The space in my heart is vast. The grass is yellow. The only thing standing is a question mark. It is an old space reclaimed. It is a graveyard for a memory. It has endless possibilities. I can’t even walk around freely yet because the grooves in the dirt are so deep you could twist an ankle. The soil will need to be tilled, and it may be too much to do by hand. New seeds will have to be planted or perhaps it will be home to a garden, raised or in the ground.
    My loneliness is the space I don’t know yet what to do with that feels too big to fill.

    My loneliness is also the clearing, the removing of what is broken and decayed and attracts destruction, and that debt is one I am happy to pay.

    • says

      Cissy, this is beautiful story. I loved the way you backed into so we had to keep reading to find out what it was about. The boat is a beautiful symbol of the failed relationship and the broken promises. I can see the remains of the boat so clearly in my mind–you painted such clear and vivid word pictures, which established the whole mood of the piece. Thank you.

    • Judy says

      Cissy, This line seemed to set the tone and draw me in….’My eyes were dry but so was my heart.’ Well expressed feelings, vivid images and powerful conclusion. Thank you.

      • Cissy says

        Judy, Funny you should say that because I was thinking if I revised it that might be the opening but I wasn’t sure. For this first draft I just did it free-write style. It is good to know what/where the writing resonated for you. Thank you. Cissy

        • Judy says

          Cissy, Like you, I have written a few sentences and realize the piece really begins in the third sentence or sometimes the third graph. I think it’s either Fran or Hazel who reminded me recently to ‘let the ideas and words percolate’ awhile before finishing.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Cissy, thanks so much for this story. I really like how you captured that boat and all that it represented to you. There are many places I could quote but I’ll restrict it to two. “The only thing standing is a question mark.” and the last lines, “My loneliness is also the clearing, the removing of what is broken and decayed and attracts destruction, and that debt is one I am happy to pay.” A thought-provoking piece. I look forward to your future posts too.

  22. Terry Gibson says

    Loneliness is the truth and beauty of the song “Overjoyed” by Bastille, a band from the UK. I dedicate this post to my Commonweal, Writer’s Journey and sisters and brothers everywhere.

    ******

    Oh I feel overjoyed
    When you listen to my words
    I see them sinking in
    Oh I see them crawling underneath your skin

    Words are all we have
    We’ll be talking
    We’ll be talking
    These words are all we have
    We’ll be talking

    And I hear you calling in the dead of night
    And I hear you calling in the dead of night

    You lean towards despair
    Any given opportunity you’re there
    But what is there to gain?
    When you’re always falling off the fence that way.

    Words are all we have
    We’ll be talking
    We’ll be talking
    These words are all we have
    We’ll be talking

    And I hear you calling in the dead of night
    Oh I hear you calling in the dead of night

    Ooooooh

    And I hear you calling in the dead of night
    Oh I hear you calling in the dead of night
    And I hear you calling in the dead of night
    Oh I hear you calling in the dead of night

    Ooooooh

    Oh I feel overjoyed
    When you listen to my words

    PS: Look up this song, if you get a chance. Beautiful!

    • Judy says

      Yes, Terry, lovely words and lovely acapella voices. Thanks, I hadn’t know of the. What is Commonweal? I’ve noticed several have also mentioned it.

      • says

        Judy, Commonweal is the location of my annual summer retreat–it’s a weeklong writing retreat in Bolinas (near Point Reyes) in northern California. It’s currently sold out for this year, but if you (or anyone else reading this) want to get on the wait list, a spot may become available. Here’s a link for info about the retreat: http://lauradavis.net/Retreats/retreat.html

        • Judy says

          Laura, Thank you for the info. Sadly, not this year. Maybe next. You kids in Northern California sure have lots of writing fun–looking forward to joining you one of these days.

          • Polly says

            Laura as you probably figured out, Scotland is not happening for me this year unless I win the lottery right away, but I think I can swing Commonweal in 2014! Something to hold out for.

  23. Debbie says

    Loneliness versus Alone. Like a pair of sneakers whose shoestrings are inextricably tangled, tossed carelessly into the dryer, these two concepts have been tumbling around in my consciousness for the past few weeks. Over the past six years there have been many hours alone. Over the past twenty-six years even more hours lonely. For most of my adult life, there was no direct correlation between these two concepts.

    I have been at my most lonely sitting in the gathering darkness of evening next to a partner who peaked hours ago, beers raised high, and now sits motionless in the dull sleep of the inebriated. Or at dinner, eaten wordlessly because of a renewed vow to discuss anything but work and finding there was nothing to say or ask of each other. Or on a brisk spring morning, sipping coffee on the sanctuary of the front porch, overlooking our private mountain glade, fervently wishing for her company and her kiss. Instead the coffee grew cold, and so did I.

    So many times, out of necessity, I spent time alone pursuing those things I enjoyed. It was either that or forgo the experience. For a long time, I chose the later out of some misplaced sense of loyalty and unyielding hope for change. After a while, though, the resentment of experiences missed, of opportunities to inhale beauty slipping by and options for personal growth stymied propelled me out of the door, alone.

    The Grand Canyon, the high deserts of New Mexico, the Hopi mesas, Rocky Mountain passes, sunsets over the Pacific, Atlantic, Gulf – all alone. Incredible hikes along the Blue Ridge Parkway, skinny dipping in the mountain rivers, camping under the stars, horseback riding through Sedona – yep, alone. Fine gourmet dinners, breathtaking views across the San Francisco bay, fine wines that danced along your palette like ballet, comfort food prepared in the rustic kitchen of a backwoods cabin – you guessed it, alone!

    So now, eighteen months after the official end of our relationship, I keep asking myself “Why does alone feel so different now?”. Why does the empty chair at the restaurant scream at me like an indictment? Why does the vacant front bucket seat seem like a metaphor for all of the mistakes made over the years? Why does the wine glass with nothing to clink against make me cry?

    So many of the physical acts are the same but the illusion is gone. No more myth about a lover waiting for me across the country. No more ring on my finger silently announcing I was desired, that a partner had claimed me for their own. No more saving a seat for someone who will hopefully show up after all. Just empty spaces.

    Being alone used to feel like a choice, a life affirming step I was taking for myself. It feels different now. More like a life sentence I must come to terms with if I am ever to find joy again. There is a growing peace in the aloneness, sprouting out of the lonely moments, replacing the drama and anguish of a withering relationship. And gratitude.

    I am grateful for the peace. I am also grateful for the years of practice, all of those times I chose to go it alone. Little did I know I was preparing for this chapter of my life.

    Alone versus loneliness. The shoes tumble on…

    • says

      Debbie, this was such a profound and moving peace that spoke volumes about relationships–being in and out of them. It really resonated with me on so many levels and you expressed it with such clarity. I’m only sorry it’s tagged on a post that’s past–so not many people will have the benefit of reading it.

      If I ever post a new post that fits this piece–I hope you’ll consider posting it again. I think it deserves a wide reading.

      Beautifully done!

      • Debbie says

        Thank you Laura. Sometimes inspiration, and finding what I really want/need to say, moves at its own pace. I love being able to “deliver” the message here when it finally does come. And I deeply appreciate your comments and encouragement. I would be happy to repost this anytime it fits. Thanks for the invitation.

    • Andrea says

      I, like Laura, wish for the world to read this. This resonates so deeply for me, and I know many who would enjoy it as well. Perhaps you might also consider posting it in another venue? Thank you for sharing this.

  24. Jess says

    Lonliness, is my one true faithful companion. It doesn’t leave, it never goes away. It just stays here with me. Enveloping me in its dark cloak. And I’m almost comfortable. And I almost don’t want to leave it.
    Because in this room, full of people it’s all I have. It’s all he left me with. I want to hold onto it so tightly, because if I do, maybe it will sheild me from further pain. Protect me from the bullets.
    I can’t imagin opening up, letting myself be turned away again, by the one I love the most. So I take loneliness and I embrace it. I let it console me, because I know he won’t.
    I let it wrap around me, shutting all else out. I let lonliness comfort me, because there’s nothing else for me to do. I can sit and cry all day, needing him to be okay. Instead I slip into the dark mist that is lonliness, and I let it overtake me.
    Because the only thing that could be worse, is living with my broken heart. The unhealable wounds, ever so slightly better with lonliness filling in its cracks, reminding me that it will be the only thing that never leaves me the way he did.

    • Debbie says

      Jess – this is poignant, full of strong emotion and imagery. These words are especially powerful: “I can’t imagine opening up, letting myself be turned away again, by the one I love the most.” They feel raw and honest.

      Welcome to the Roadmap Blog. I am so glad you decided to share your feelings with us. Because this is an older prompt – it is likely not many will see this post. I hope you will join in sooner on a current or future post. You express your feelings beautifully.

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