If I were to tell my story, it would begin with loneliness.
Loneliness that drove me over the hills and the valleys, searching to feel anything but numb. Praying to a god that I never heard, cursing myself for not speaking to strangers, and returning to a home that wasn’t mine. The loneliness plagued me to no end, like a sickness that I felt to the bones. My spirit atrophied, and the wilted soul that I was limped through the coming and going of empty processions.
And in this journey, like with many stories and adventures, I found companions. A merry band of wanderers, who like me had no where to be. So we reveled, and we spent many late nights out on the road. And in those golden years I traveled to so many cities and places. In those years we stumbled through tragedies and sorrows, excitement and wonder. Loneliness was no where to be found.
Eventually we were trapped by the many facets of this world. We fell in love with women, and grew encumbered with bills. We posted ourselves to cubicles and desks, and learned the language of spreadsheets. We went on date nights, and romanced our women.
Now, once more at the shores of our friendship, I can’t help but to notice the fleeting water’s edge. What a pleasant trip it was, across these tides together, over the seas of uncertainty. What fellowship we offered one another, taking turns to row. Yet here I stand once more on sandy shores, and as I gaze over the dark lands I can smell a faint aroma wafting through the chilled air. Like the distant fires of pine and cedar, it is a familiar scent, sharp, quick to sting the nose. The scent of loneliness hangs still in the air, like a man strung from a tree after too many hours. Loneliness is here once more to greet me.
So here I recognize, at the end of such elusive journeys, having spent nearly another decade of my life, that perhaps loneliness is my muse. It is my madness, my sacrosanct. It is my curse, the conflict of my plot line, the fire of my mind. It is my meditation, my will, and my voice. It is inevitable.
As I age, the loneliness seems to take less the form of an empty room, and more the spirit of the empty room. It becomes a familiar presence, the silence and stillness, which quickly fills with the nostalgic sentiments of my past. The emptiness suddenly bubbles with the memory of being lonely, as if the loneliness stopped time, and connected all the times in my life that I sat in an empty room, feeling the silence. It is on the loneliness that I am able to project myself, and thus for once, see myself for who I am. And as I age, that image of myself becomes more welcome, as is the loneliness.
Perhaps because I know that one day, when I leave this world, I will be alone, like all the others who have left this world. Like I was when I entered this world. So I acquiesce myself with that familiar scent, the smoky air that unfurls from the distant dusk. And I can only be happy and sad at the fleeting memories as they leave me, knowing only that it was well spent.
And thus, you, the reader, realizes that the main character of this story is not me, it is the blank face of Loneliness. Like a rhythm drifting over a wall, like a shadow at the end of night, he was there when I began, and as I twirled through his hands, I ended. I was but an accent of his, nothing more than another volume in his collection. I, a word in his chapter, a chapter in his book, saw nothing more than was destined for me. I was but company to this character, to accompany him, and to fill his pages.
The story would then end where it began, with Loneliness, in an empty room. But damn that was a good story.