Loneliness feels like a child in overalls swimming through racks of clothes at the department store, stepping out into a clearing and coming to the sudden realization, “Mommy?”
You tumbled into pleasure and pursued it, fleeing the security of attachment. Shhhh, don’t yell for mom. You’re too embarrassed to advertise your infidelity, so you bite your lip and find a corner in the shadows, a vantage point where you can scan the room, concealed. Concealed from the gaze of strangers and the terrified searchlights in mother’s eyes.
This is what loneliness feels like.
I scan the room while huddled in dark places. Always the observer, never the observed. A shout or cry might end this somber game of hide-and-seek, but would also draw attention and I have every intention to remain lost.
Like a mountaineer aiming for the highest peak, to stand above and beyond the reach of ordinary people who scramble in the industry of busywork, clawing for the crumbs of mediocrity while the clock of mortal fate tiks its final tok. I’ve aspired to reach the glorious heights of autonomy, to hoist the flag of loneliness so that the world can know that I was never here.
Unmoored, but the anchor was never raised. I cut it loose and let it sink into the abyss. I sacrificed reliance for complete manual control, as if fixing my hands to the helm would set me free. Now I am a slave to this vessel, never at rest, always vigilant and afraid. A moment of inattention in this raging sea might throw me off course into a place that’s unfamiliar.
My ties and loyalties are few and fragile. No brand, band, bureaucracy, or belief that I’m beholden to. Averse to being stuffed into a pigeonhole, but too cowardly to face the fancier and to subdue him with my seductive coo.
The eagle feather glides freely across the heavens while the oppressed fixate on it with envy, but the lonely feather yearns reunion with the bird that circles in the sky.