Here I am again, looking outside of the window as the wind wove itself through the trees, dancing playfully with each and every leaf.
Even mother nature is mocking me for being such a fool.
Everything outside my bedroom window looks exactly as it had been twenty minutes ago, but now it all seems… different. More gloomy, perhaps, if that’s even possible as I sit in the confinement of my own own.
Staring outside the window, my mind can’t help but go over and over what just happened.
As I peered out my window, I saw the moon’s light bouncing off of every patch of green it could find, creating a scenic meadow for the toads who were having friendly, late night conversation with one another.
Socialising. Something I was sorely lacking and greatly missing.
I snuck a quick glance at my phone, not really wanting to know what I already knew wasn’t going to be there.
‘No new notifications.’
I felt my heart drop lower than it already was, sending a sickly wave of emotions into my gut. As much as I tried, I felt it eating away at my insides, travelling from my gut, to my lungs, to my heart. While I brushed my teeth, every movement and scrape of the bristles was perfectly mirrored within my body. As I changed into my pyjamas, it felt as if they didn’t fit, as if my body had become bloated with this feeling of hurt and distress. As I laid down in my bed, it only allowed the feeling to reach farther than it had before, spreading to my head, my toes and my throat, making me feel as if I was suffocating.
I clenched my fist around my phone, not even wanting to take one last look at the screen. I placed it down and nuzzled deep within my pillow, tucking my blanket underneath my chin.
Immediately I felt a skip in my heartbeat. My fingers tingled at the thought of reaching for my phone and reading the message. What if it’s not him? I thought to myself. Reluctantly, I slowly extended my hand towards my bedside table and grasped the metal frame of my phone, turning it to face my tired and red eyes.
“Going to bed. Ily.”
There was that gut wrenching feeling again, as if it was reminding me that I’d been waiting the whole day for this one, underwhelming text. That this would be the first and final text of the day. My hands were steady as I put my phone back on to the bedside table, unlike the first time this happened where they shook more than what I thought was possible. Perhaps they were now accustomed to this recurring scenario.
Did I do something wrong? Why won’t he talk to me? Am I… not good enough?
My head pounded as my thoughts bounced around the insides of my skull, my body desperately trying to expel them from within me. I solemnly stood up and walked back over to the window, taking a tentative seat on its sill. There was no way that I was going to be able to fall asleep now.
My head continues to feel like Metallica is rehearsing inside of it, no matter what the view from my window offers as a distraction. I try my hardest to pay attention to the mangoes that dangle from within the tree across from me, but all I can see is myself in them. They hold onto the tree, their roots, with as much effort as they can muster, but they are barely hanging on by a thread. Barely connected to those who were once so pivotel to their being and sense of security.
First, I could feel my best friend slowly becoming more and more distant from me. I tried in every way I could think of to talk to her and remain connected to her, but the intensity of my attempts was only matched with an even greater wall of resistance. Now it is happening again, with the person who I love most in the world. I can’t help but to feel as if everyone was letting me go, deciding I’m not worth their time and energy. Dropping me like the way a coconut tree drops a coconut, allowing me to crash into the ground and not being able to get back up.
Rootless. Bare from any sense of an identity.
A million worries, doubts and questions whirled around the tornado that had become my headspace. As I focused in on the quiet orchestra of the frogs and the crickets, only one thought came to mind:
If everyone I love is letting go of me, why shouldn’t I let go of myself, too?
“Going to bed. Ily.”
I sit on the edge of my chair, my elbows resting on my desk and my back arched over my phone. I hopelessly wait on a response as I have before and this time is no different: I am left waiting. I feel my stomach crumple into a ball from within me, my heart desperately trying to make up for it. Immediately, my brain takes over, and makes me release a deep, guttural groan. Before I know it, my hand is bare from any presence of my phone.
I inhale deeply and hold my breath as I slowly rotate my head towards the direction I hurled my phone. It’s landed on its face, but even without turning it over I know that the screen is shattered, as its body is surrounded by a puddle of glass shards.
Shit. Mum is going to be so pissed when I tell her in the morning.
I grab a towel from my closet and tentatively use it to sweep up the pointed sparkles of glass. I sit down cross-legged next to the jumbled mess and watch as the street lamp and moon duel for the right to shimmer across the reflective glass surface.
It’s getting frustrating being the only one who says “I love you” anymore. It used to be said at least once everyday, each time filled with more love and compassion than the last. Now hearing it was so rare that it could be considered a phenomenon. It almost felt mandatory to have to speak to one another, while before we could have talked for hours, each and every word filled with excitement and love, as if just the simple exchange of words were everything. Now, our relationship doesn’t even resemble what it once was, not a single spark of what existed before could be felt. It’s almost as if someone had been slowly blowing out a candle and its flickering flame has now finally been extinguished.
Someone or something?
Perhaps it is more accurate to say that our mouths are now covered with cloth, bandanas and other material, and so our words cannot be exchanged. Our thoughts, feelings, emotions. All suppressed within us, banging on their esophageal walls in an attempt to escape, but to no avail.
Or maybe she never really loved me at all. That could be it. Just something to pass the time. No, she couldn’t have faked it for that long. Hell, this is just the cabin fever allowing my mind to be poisoned with doubt.
I feel like the more we contain ourselves from coronavirus, the more we contain who we are and what makes us… us. We shield our bodies from COVID, but by doing so, we put our minds at risk of another disease. One that lurks in the shadows yet still makes its presence known, like the virus. One that makes us short of breath and fatigued, like the virus. One that brings us to the brink of death, like the virus. Or more so makes us bring ourselves to the brink of death.
How am I meant to talk to her? How do I even describe what the hell is going on with me when I don’t even know?
I know she must think that I’m disinterested. That maybe it’s me who is the one who never loved her. Honestly, I don’t think I could blame her. This constant ache which is sometimes dull and is sometimes like a sharp jab in my side like a knife… how do I deal with this? I don’t want to hurt her, but I’m in so much pain that I can’t clearly think about her and be able to compartmentalise the ache from the love. My emotions are a whirlpool of muddled emotions and distressing thoughts.
I stare at my hands in my lap and, in the silence of the night, am overcome with an overwhelming sense of loneliness. As if there is some barrier between me and every single person in the world.
How, in a time filled with technology and communication, is it possible to feel so utterly alone?
a Night Of Lonely Souls
BY Kaitlyn Bews