THE SORROW OF LONELINESS
I can bear my loneliness when alone.
And, when with others,
my loneliness may for a time be forgot.
But when others want me to be like them
so that I will want to be with them
as they want to be with each other,
then my loneliness is doubled.
Then sorrow begins.
First days, then weeks – then months go by. They slip
away from me, fade, vanish, disappear. Where have they gone?
Time becomes an interminable Now. Summer rolls away in a wave of
broiling heat. Money evaporates like dew.
"How can you want to live like that?" my mother asks
me. We're sitting at the wooden table where, just an hour
ago, we'd been having dinner. That had gone peacefully
enough. Now the shit's suddenly hit the fan. "I
cannot believe you want to live like that," she
says. She is breathless with anger, her voice as shrill
as breaking glass. "No job – no job. And you
act like you don't even care! How are you managing to pay your
I want to tell her: "It's none of your fucking
business." I want to tell her: "Get off my fucking
back." I want to tell her: "Your fear is crushing
me." I want to tell her: "It's my life, not
yours." But I say none of these things. I simply shrug.
She hates this little shrug of mine – and I know it too.
She thinks I do it just to spite her. But the truth is, I simply
have nothing more to say. I have nothing further to offer her. No
explanations. No apologies. It's this that makes her so
"My unemployment benefits have run out," I tell her at last.
"I'm living off credit cards now."
She has no idea how to respond to that – words simply fail her.
To go into debt so wantonly! Or so she thinks. She turns
away from me, her mouth shaped to form a noise of utter disgust.
As he drives me back home again, my father says to me, in a low, slow
voice: "I don't understand you, Simon." He says
this again and again: "I don't understand you. I just
don't understand you." I say nothing. I stare out the
window of the car into darkness.
"Why you ever left college . . ." he mutters, shaking his
head – and this remark truly does stun me. It has been so many
years now since I left school, I thought it had long ago been forgotten.
Been accepted. I never knew that there had been, all this time,
such a wall of misunderstanding between us. I never knew that for all these
years behind his facade of cheerful indifference there existed this gulf
When I wake in the mornings now the feeling I have is that I am like
an animal huddled at the back of a cage. The cage is my life.
"How did it ever come to this?" I wonder as I lie there.
So many years gone by. "How has my life turned into
this?" No friends, no money, no hope. Out of time.
Out of luck.
Now life is not my dream. Now it is I who am dreamed.
I am the dream of all that I see, of all the world spinning round
and round me. Within that world, the world which dreams me,
I might do anything: I might go crazy, mad, nuts;
I might become violent, do myself harm – or harm others. Anything
is possible. I am me – but also I am not me. I
can do whatever I choose. I am free. I must be.
I must be free because the only meaning I have left now is
what others dream me to be.
I am dancing. There is no music.
My arms are graceful. My body's twisting.
There is no ground here. There is no sky.
Here I am no one. Where I am.
I cannot see you. You are not there.
You try to make me. I am unmade.
I am a puppet. With human eyes.
I walk among you. Here I come.
I tell you stories. You tell me lies.
Sometimes you're angry. Sometimes I smile.
You love my laughter. You fear my fear.
You do not know me. You always did.
You look around me. At where I was.
I did not want to. You would not run.
You looked right through me. And knew you did.
That was no answer. I gave you more.
The secret opened. It's always been.
I could not help it. But dared to tell.
You could not stop me. You were approaching.
There was no music. I was dancing.
My body twisted. You followed after.
It did not matter. We were always.
You would never. But I did.
You could not stop me. If I tried.
We fell together. Into the air.
You started screaming. I told you why.
You held me tightly. I tried to make you.
You wanted no one. I was there.
I started screaming. Into the distance.
You were not with me. You always are.
I walk among you. Where I am no one.
You do not see me. Here I am.