You Don’t Get Lonely, Do You?

“You don’t get lonely, do you?” she asserts. I am dumbstruck, fumbling to put together a credible reply. She’s a close friend, we’ve known each other for years. Perhaps that’s the problem. I believed we knew each other well but she is simply wrong, so wrong. If she really believes what she is saying then she does not “know” me at all.

Of course I get lonely sometimes, we all do. So lonely it burns. That she can’t perceive this astonishes me, but then I ask myself why. Is it something in her, perhaps a lack of insight or empathy? Or is it me? Maybe I hide things well, even if I am not consciously aware of doing it. It makes some kind of sense to keep one’s innermost fears and secrets hidden behind a facade. We all have things that we feel shame about and we don’t like to be judged upon them.

There’s something else I must tell you about. Jealousy. There is something in her tone of voice that gives it away, a bitterness, a hint of resentment that colours her words. It’s as if she is saying “You don’t get lonely, do you? I do. It’s not fair.”

There’s no time to go off on an “it’s not fair” tangent. She’s still waiting for my reply. “I do get lonely sometimes,” I admit, “but I like to spend some time alone too.” It is the best that I can do. A pathetic little admission, followed up with an even more pitiful attempt to rationalise it.

Does she know me? Do I know me? I used to think so… now I’m not so sure.

Image © 2018 Shona Silverman.

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