She hisses her reminders, blows a chilly wind over my chest with her breath. “Almost 62, now what will you do??” She chants over and over.
She is wearing me out with her relentless chatter. I get up early, run a hot bath, trying to drown out the icy hands she presses into my heart. I sneak out of my dark house, leaving Lia snoring in her crate, dreaming the morning dreams that I never make time for anymore.
I drive through the foggy, five degree, red alert air to the gym. It is 6:15 AM. I join those few bleary eyed regulars, lined up side by side, huffing and grunting and puffing, within our solitary ear-phoned cages. I turn my back on Loneliness. I plug into “Drum Sex”. I start running.
Why is she so scary? I live my life with the firm conviction that loving and being loved is what it’s all about. All day long I am falling in love with these people who hour after hour, sit on my couch or in the chair that “relaxes the back”, who are laughing and crying and raging and defending, and blaming and longing and yearning for connection and meaning and purpose, and most of all, a safe and solid ground of love that will never let them down.
Can I be that for them? Is this the way I can shove Loneliness and her cruel ranting’s out of the house, or at least into a small cot in the corner of the spider infested, dark basement. You know, that part of the basement that is the dirt floored crawl space under the living room- where I used to lie on the rug by the fire with J, hearts connected,, painting our toes and fingers, having long conversations, for hours on a winter night.
But Loneliness will not be banished. She keeps sneaking out in the dark, in the middle of the night, when I read or see or feel or hear something inspiring, and I turn with light in my eyes, wanting to share my whole heart with…. that one who is no longer there.
But Loneliness is here. Perhaps I misunderstand her. She is only stalking me as her last resort. I know she just wants to be heard, be seen. She whispers so softly, I barely hear her: “ Please, please make contact with me. Write to me. Sing to me. Dance with me. I need your attention!”
“If you don’t pay attention to me, I will turn against you! My rage will annihilate you!” She hisses again.
I can’t face you. You frighten me. You are cold and crazy and you must be quite ugly because over and over you drive everyone that you come into contact with, into wild desperate diversions!
But no matter how much I run from you, your ghost haunts me.
But Theresa, you have always loved ghost stories- the promise of something mysterious and beyond this mundane life.
Perhaps it is time to invite Loneliness to sit by the fire with me.
I will put on some music, perhaps some piano or acoustic guitar, or classical. We will just sit together. I will practice not turning away, not running. I will just sit and breathe. I will try listening, really listening.
Finally, she says, “Here you are. I have been trying to get your attention for years. I have a story to tell you. All you have to do is listen.