I wrote this after a grey, rainy day on campus that I spent almost completely alone.
Loneliness is a hard knot at the back of your throat and a persistent ache in your chest.
Loneliness is getting dressed and walking to the farthest coffee shop on campus, just so you can hear another person’s voice. It doesn’t matter that all you’ll say is “Can I get a small iced coffee?” and “thanks.” Ninety seconds of human contact is better than nothing. The coffee doesn’t drown the lump in your throat and you walk out, wondering what you should do now.
You cross the street and wander into a part of town you’ve never visited. Admiring the ivy-covered houses and slightly decrepit apartment buildings, you imagine living there. You’d probably have a cat. And friends.
While you’re thinking about friends, you pull out your phone to see if anyone’s texted you. They haven’t. You text everyone you might possibly want to hang out with. “What are you up to?” You put your phone back in your pocket and continue walking.
Loneliness is pulling your phone out of your pocket twenty minutes later and seeing that only two people responded. They’re both busy. Loneliness is the blurriness behind your eyes as you pause to reply, “Never mind.”
You walk back home.
Loneliness is spending two hours cleaning your kitchen, even though no one’s going to see it. While you’re cleaning, you think up imaginary conversations with the friends who probably aren’t going to visit you and the neighbors you haven’t met yet. By the time you’ve finished, you’ve chipped your nail polish, rubbed your hands raw, and sweated through your shirt.
Loneliness is sitting on the floor, drenched in sweat, and eating cookies. When the cookies are gone, you open one of the books that you bought yesterday. You read it straight through and feel empty when you’ve turned the last page.
Loneliness is sitting at the kitchen table of your hot, sticky apartment and eating leftovers for dinner. You check Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and your email, knowing that nothing’s changed since you checked them three hours ago.
Loneliness is spending your Friday night alone in your apartment, watching The Hunger Games off of a questionably legal website. When the movie is over and the credits are rolling up the screen, you walk out onto your balcony. It’s raining out, so you spend a few minutes basking in the damp, fragrant air.
You go back inside and open up your computer. The clicking of the keys echoes through the dark room as you mindlessly browse the internet. You’ll be up until your vision blurs and your eyelids start to droop, when you’ll collapse onto your bed and fall into a dreamless stupor.
Loneliness is a deserted campus, an empty apartment, a hollow chest.