“You should get out and meet people,” they tell me, like they’re urging chemo. “It’s easy,” they say, “and besides, What Do You Have To Lose?”
Like most social advice, this is intuitive, reasonable, and bullshit.
They assume I have nothing to lose because, to their extroverted eyes, a lonester like myself has nothing worthwhile at all.
They don’t know recognize the value of what I have. I have Solitude, and Solitude is a lady of the highest quality.
You don’t see her? That’s all right. Not all invisible friends are imaginary.
When she walks through the house, she is quiet and elegant, her subtle scent the only indication she’s around.
She listens to my unusual music choices without complaint, giving every artist its fair due without judging. Sometimes she hums along.
Solitude doesn’t complain when I ruin a meal–she always knows just how to salvage the leftovers.
When we watch a movie, my lady and I, she keeps a respectful silence for the duration of the film, waiting until the credits have rolled to spark insightful discussion and commentary.
Some nights we don’t even talk. I sit on the couch, lost in a good book, and she sits quietly beside me, head on my shoulder, reading along.
I don’t know what I did to deserve her.
When I go out into the cold, dark world to try to make friends, sometimes Solitude waits at home for me. But sometimes when I come back, she’s not there.
Sometimes I find Loneliness waiting for me instead.
Where Solitude is a lady of refinement, Loneliness is a foul bitch.
She slams the door as she enters the house and her angry stamps are a constant reminder of her presence.
Loneliness shouts at me to turn my goddamn music off, and asks why I even listen to that shit.
She throws my attempts at cooking in my face, no matter how much care I take in their preparation.
Loneliness talks through movies, mocking the characters’ emotions, picking at plotholes like scabs, predicting the ending and cackling when she’s right.
We never have any quiet nights. Her fingernails dig into my skin as she whines that I never take her anywhere, that her mother was right about me, what am I even doing with my life, and why doesn’t anyone come over to see us anymore?
After Loneliness leaves, Solitude comes back, but I see in her eyes the pain of my betrayal, and things are never the same.
Friends are wonderful things, I have no doubt, but don’t tell me I have nothing to lose by seeking them out. My Solitude’s a lady, and I won’t tolerate your disrespect.
And Solitude, if you’re out there…
Please come back.
Without you, I truly am