It’s always been there, ever since my early life as an only child. With an incomplete family, and no neighborhood kids, I always had fun by myself. It was the only way to have fun. My days were spent watching TV and becoming immersed in popular culture. It made me realize I was imperfect. Of course, no one is perfect, but I was even less so than others. It was around me, then, all the time. Everything I did and everything I tried to do was veiled in its gray nastiness. I became stressed. I was at a loss of who to take to this event, who to tell that funny joke to, who to introduce to my new favorite multiplayer game when I realized - I was alone.
It was always a little colder than the rest of the house. The guest room wasn’t really a guest room anymore. It was my playroom. Legos were strewn across the floor (waiting to cause pain to those who stepped on them), an old, metal ladder stood up like a mountain for my imaginary world. When I played, I played for hours on end, and remembered my ‘story’ and would continue it every day. I didn’t grow up with lots of electronics, I stuck with my figures and legos. Occasionally, I’d look outside into the bright Los Angeles sun. I heard muffled screams of the children riding bikes and playing with water guns outside. I often wished I could join them. I couldn’t, I didn’t know anyone. I grew older, and moved on from my playroom to my grandparent’s bedroom to play games on their computer. I ‘met’ people on my myriad of online games, and felt...sad. Everyone else played with their friends. I was just that ‘online friend’. I wished I could play with my real life friends. I couldn’t...it was around 6th grade when I realized just how alone I was. Still, in 2017 with the four good friends I have, no one plays games with me. It always makes me sad.
Loneliness is something I never wanted to carry. It is a thick, gray gas like smoke. It permeates one’s very being, making eyes water, stomachs turn, noses stuffed, and mouths shut. Loneliness ties the holder’s shoe laces so that they can’t go anywhere without the constant reminder that they’ll fall. It prevents me from being happy all the time, which would be my mood of choice. It leaves a massive path of mushy soil; through which the corpses of every mistake I’ve ever made crawl out of, hoping to rip my feet out from under me once more. The feeling of having it is like dragging multiple bodies along behind you in a race. It’s ironic, loneliness, the thing that keeps others away from you, has a best friend named stress.
Imagine a day like any other. You do what you want to. Eat your preferred foods, and perform your preferred activities. You aren’t happy, though. Being lonely invades everything you do. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing your favorite game or reading your favorite book, you’re sad because no one is there with you. No one cares. No one wants to know what you’re doing. It doesn’t even matter if you’re doing a solo activity, you’re still sad. On the surface you’ll look normal, but inside you’re walking on thorns and have a burning feeling like soap stinging your eyes. Get this, you can even be surrounded by people - that like you, no less - and still have that tearing pain in your stomach, urging to let itself out.
That’s been my life for the past five years. Eventually, all of these terrible feelings begin to melt into a blurry image of a future. A dark room, with barely glowing light bulbs. A small, old static-filled television sits in front of an unclean carpet. Junk food and soda litter the ground, carbohydrates galore. Moonlight shines through a dusty, four-paned window with broken blinds sitting atop it like a smushed layered cake. Look to the left: no one is there. Look to the right? There’s no one there either. That’s life. Forever. Do Intestines rise to your throat when you think of this future? Mine do. I want to edit it. I want to get rid of all this.
Now, imagine a bright, warm room with red velvet carpet and a black leather couch. A staircase sits to the right, wooden steps gleaming with the light of the pure gold chandelier overhead. A wood and glass table sit in front of you, covered with bright bowls filled with sweets and drinks. On the wall directly in front of your relaxed figure, a flatscreen playing your favorite programs. What about the black, leather couch? Right and left, it’s filled with your loved ones. Smiling, laughing, and talking fill your head with glee at the sight of everyone having a good time. That’s friendship, you think, family too, that’s pure happiness. That’s the possibility of life for me in the future, if I wasn’t lonely. But I am, right now. For how long? I don’t know.
If I looked through a mirror, I would see her. She’d sit in a few different places for each day, hours at a time. Dressed in regular clothes, an old graphic T-shirt and pajama pants or shorts was the way to go. Perhaps a memorable necklace around her neck, if she wanted to wear a ring she might. The bright screen would reflect itself into the watery hazel irises. Long, pale piano fingers move with lightning speed on the keyboard creating a chorus of rapid clicking. You’d see the game, then think she was having fun. Most of the time, she would be. Pale, freckled cheeks would curve into a smile when she would win or text with someone nice. If I looked into those eyes shadowed by dark bangs, I’d have to dig and dig to find the emotion in them. When I did, I’d cry. The past and present do not have to make a future, at least, I certainly hope not. I hope this feeling goes away forever, but if it does, when? Will I have already given up? Have I already given up on finding companionship and happiness to share? I don’t want to carry this crippling emotion any longer.