The sky looked vast tonight. Alone, she walked home. She hugged her jacket around her waist even though tonight felt like spring. It was security, it was her way of being less alone. She absorbed her surroundings; the dark, uneven path in front of her, the silent buildings, the yellow taxis gliding past like colourful fish, the iron gates protecting the park, the motionless trees. They distracted her.
Her pace quickened, taking her back to an empty apartment. Cigarettes and the stars awaited her. They shone brighter tonight, glaring intensely before the clouds consumed them. The sky’s infiniteness was cut by the buildings that rose into the darkness, a vastness and emptiness of space that reminded her of home. The soccer field, fringed with trees tiny in comparison to the immeasurable universe above. She remembered that sky and the orange sunsets over the playground. The purple mountains beyond the cane fields. The mango tree’s leaves reflecting the moonlight, and the bats who shot our of its branches with a sudden rustle. She remembered everything as she gazed at the cement suburbia around her.
She did things to make herself forget that she was alone, as we all do, hiding from the glaringly obvious fact that we will always and forever be alone. Nevertheless, she longed for company. The company of a friend, a stranger, an author, a musician. A typewriter to say words to her, to be a second soul in the room. She sought the comfort of drugs to scramble her perception of reality and again make her forget that she was alone. The dreaded feeling intensified after she spent time with him. The new person in her life who had become more than a stranger she had known for seventeen days.
She could feel herself falling, tumbling, spinning into the well she had just finished building barriers around. They were crumbled after she stopped loving the one before, god knows when that was. Months or years ago. It didn’t matter now. Brick by brick, in her shiny new city life, she resurrected the walls around the well so that she could find strength in her loneliness. It made her feel powerful. But now, she felt helpless against the tidal wave rising from the fallen bricks. It was unstoppable, unavoidable, and she was aware of the danger. The stories must all be true. Your brick wall is your security. Those who lose it are lost. Yes, she knew all of this, and continues to spread her arms, like eagles wings, and bare her white neck to the oncoming water.
The wave would consume her slowly, like ants crawling over a hill. But eventually she would be enveloped by the water, surrounded and drowning. A dull ache of regret would permeate her suspended body and she would curse herself for embracing the wave.
She was alone in her apartment. Completely alone. One soul surrounded by the millions of souls that shared life with her, yet unable to feel anything but her loneliness. The egotistical self-indulgence in sorrow. The narcissism that she was unique in experiencing this emotion, when in actuality every other person, laughing and drunk in their Saturday night clothes, felt the same. She was just acknowledging it.
Outside, the trees were still and white beams of headlights flashed past. Silence floated in the air every few seconds, comforting her.