No one tells you about the loneliness.
It doesn’t sink in slowly like honey in water, nor does it come hard and fast like a rock cast into a lake.
It comes in waves. Huge, colossal waves that loom over you for a few seconds just to create suspense, then come crashing down, making you a rag doll, tumbling in its giant hands. When it’s over it isn’t just over… loneliness takes its time with you, makes you soak in every drop of it until you wash up on dry land again, dazed and unsure of what to do with yourself.
What’s terrible about this kind of loneliness is that it comes out of nowhere. Today I was at the mall when it happened.
It’s weird, you know, I spent all morning in my room alone and enjoying every second of it. (Days off don’t come around too often). I cleaned my room, did the laundry, ate breakfast, watched a movie, read poetry, took up space all on my own and was happy. I was not lacking anything.
Around 4pm I decide it’s a good time to get some fresh air and run a few errands. I grabbed my keys, hopped on the river taxi, and headed for the mall. It didn’t even occur to me to ask anyone to join because I had been having such a great time with myself.
My first task of finding a specific shoe brush kept me busy, but as soon as my feet landed on the escalator going up, slow and steady, loneliness seized the opportunity to let me know how alone I was. I turned my attention to my phone, checking over and over again for any messages that slipped through. The disappointment in my bones when I found nothing.
Oh! I’ll call so-and-so in the states, I thought to myself, only to remember the incredible hour it was over on that side of the world. This moment of panic is that “looming” I mentioned earlier. After checking every social media platform and leaving empty the wave came crashing down mercilessly.
I am alone.
I walked around the mall like this for what seemed like ages, this thick sadness stuck to my spine.
I got ice cream, probably the saddest thing to do alone, well, what I found out to be the saddest thing to do alone after receiving a funny look from the waitress when I told her it would just be me tonight. I guess I should mention it doesn’t help that I understand Thai and knew exactly what she was saying to her co-workers about me. The lonely girl.
It’s not like I don’t have friends, I think what I needed in that moment was more than a friend–I needed a soul mate. Please understand that I am NOT talking about a significant, romantically involved other, if we have reduced soul mates to that then I feel pity on us.
I have friends that are soul mates, unfortunately those friends live across the world. I have one friend here who’s almost like that, but between my limited Thai and her limited English it’s hard to decipher some emotional exchanges.
When the wave finally subdued and washed me unto shore I realized how much of myself I close off from people. (My counselor was the first one to realize this, but I guess today I really see it). I could have way more soul mates than I allow myself to have.
Will having more soul mates stop the great waves of loneliness? Not necessarily, but maybe it will lighten the blow of them and have me coming unto shore with new revelations.