Being alone vs feeling alone

I am often by myself. As a writer, this is probably just the way I like things. That is until I ran smack into the one time that I felt alone.

I usually enjoy a space devoid of other people; that’s how work gets done. That is not to say I don’t like company; I do. I just like to be able to retreat to my writing space after.

Normally this is just fine but yesterday I ran into what I can only describe as the world’s most lonely feeling – sitting on the sofa without wifi while being sick without anyone to hold your hair.

It was on a day when I had visited a hotel that features an amazing collection of official Harry Potter artwork. Just before I went home I started to feel slightly below par. To be fair, I’d probably been fighting an infection for some time but the symptoms chose that moment to start to manifest. Maybe.

I arrived home grateful to take off my shoes and put on my super comfortable (and fluffy) dressing gown. However, no matter what I did, I felt queasy and unwell.

I’ll spare you the details but sufficed to say I ended up on the sofa with a bucket and sans phone. My eyes did some serious watering. My stomach cramped and hurt. And I ended up shivering alone. Not just alone but feeling alone too.

I realised that in the past there had always been other people – family mostly – around when I was ill. I would have given anything for someone to rub my back and say “it will be okay”.

Instead, I sat there – alone – feeling retched with puke in my beard and on my lips. I can tell you, that is a very lonely place to be.

I just wanted to dry my face and wash my mouth. A cool flannel and a cup of water would have been amazing right then. But I could only sit there and endure the moment.

As was said in antiquities (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12):

Two people are better than one,

because they can reap more benefit from their labour.

For if they fall, one will help his companion up,

but pity the person who falls down and has no one to help him up.

Furthermore, if two lie down together, they can keep each other warm,

but how can one person keep warm by himself?

Although an assailant may overpower one person,

two can withstand him.

Moreover, a three-stranded cord is not quickly broken.

Clearly, I think, this was a poem written by someone who felt alone. I certainly felt the need for one to help his companion up as I sat on the sofa.

Eventually, of course, I got over that feeling. Eventually, I stood up. Eventually, I got my drink of water.

Even so, I felt miserable. I felt alone. Truly alone.

Feeling weak and tired, I did the only thing I could – I went to bed, alone.

Sleep has a funny way of making everything okay. It adds perspective in a way nothing else can. When I woke up some five or six hours later (at around midnight), my inner writer had woken up. I still felt rubbish. My tummy hurt and I felt alone. But something was different. There was a part of my mind that was saying “what a wonderful set of experiences to put into a story, we can definitely use this.”

And with that, I started blogging.

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  1. Pingback: The Problem of Poverty • Matthew D Brown

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