The Lonely

People called. For the past week friends freckled my voicemail with concern and support. Each echoed, “I know the holidays can be rough.” I scoffed each time I heard it. “Whatever,” I thought. And then just like a Bill Murray movie, the holiday spirit whooped my ass, tossed me on my feet, and left me disoriented. And then it moved in. Loneliness.

Loneliness moved in like a slow, heavy, drooling Mastiff. Let’s make it a Neopolitan, with it’s lumbering gate and massive wrinkles. It looks sad yet powerful and happy at the same time. The combination makes me queezy. The apartment squeals when the Loneliness plops down and then the silence grows like deafening cicadas warming up in August. It hurts. The way Loneliness stares at me while assuming comfort in my home throws a migraine at my head. Everything looks as foggy as the soap operas and my chest aches. Zits break out and itch on my back. A lifetime’s worth of zits, more than you’ve had altogether since 13, all congregating and irritating me between the shoulder blades. And suddenly it felt like that area could set fire to my clothes.

Time for a walk. I welcome the cold wind stinging my skin beneath my jeans. The FitBit buzzes on my wrist. I stop to read it and it says, “Keep going! You’re earning Zone Minutes!” I cry. “More like ‘Moping Miles,'” I muttered to myself while tears slowly snuck down my cheeks.

My heart felt like leather clawed and torn apart in pieces and bits, all shaggy and frayed, snagged and shred. It would seem nearly impossible to stitch up. Some pieces of my heart are missing, probably locked inside an unfaced trauma, or hiding in the shadows of mourning. The ones that remain are warped and mishapen. It will take more heart than I have now to fill in all the holes and cracks if I can ever piece what’s left together. I will have to grow more heart. It’s going to take accepting help from friends and lots of walks.

Loneliness watches as if bored and disinterested but obligated to stare at me, sliding it’s hand into mine, walking slowly besides me on the sidewalk. I can hear happy people laughing and joking with each other around a firepit in a well-manicured back yard, all fenced in with bricks and stones. Their happiness hurts. I don’t want it to. I wish them the best. I truly do. I don’t want anyone to feel the pain I do and Loneliness shrugs. That hurts even more because I know I am not alone in the loneliness.

Loneliness visits many people tonight, planning to hang around and hover over all we try to do, for days, maybe weeks. Longer? It drools over me and everything. The drool is so difficult to wash off and you’re trying to het it out but there is just so much essence of Loneliness. It’s everywhere. It’s maddening. It hurts.

Oh I’m so sorry it hurts, the fellow Lonely. I guess if it didn’t hurt we wouldn’t know if our heart worked.


  1. Rivergirl

    Holidays can be a horribly depressing time for many people. I don’t suffer from it, but all the happy hype usually makes me feel like I’m doing it wrong. I used to kill myself trying to create the perfect celebration for ungrateful family members who always complained. Now I think, who needs the stress? We’ve taken a Christmas trip for the last 5 years and enjoyed it immensely. Of course that’s not happening in 2020….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. laurapaisleybeck

      This is my first Christmas alone since 1997 and even then I wasn’t alone alone, a young kid just out of college working in Breckenridge foe the winter. This is a special heartbreaking year. People look to me to be sunshine. I don’t have it right now. It’s all used up and worn out.

      Liked by 1 person

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