Loneliness is inevitable, and mine is shrouded with a particular spiritual angst. Growing up, I had visions of my torso’s skin peeling away to reveal slimy, coiled intestines and a bleeding heart. All of these innards would spill out to make room for god to nestle his way in there. I yearned for him to curl up inside my veins, and to blast my self-loathing to hell. The desire for god to nurse my wounds was both exhilarating and exhausting.
But, my prayers, accompanied by a face scrunched up in a silent scream, were left unanswered, unacknowledged, unwanted. I slowly became another person disillusioned by godliness. A pious girl, who used to kiss her siddur with the intensity of a dying woman kissing her lover, metamorphosed into a nose-pierced punk who yawns impertinently in religion’s demanding face. Well, that’s a cliche that bores even me.
Loneliness is inevitable, but I want a different brand of it and not the one that’s being defined by my parents. My parents’ loneliness is so loud that I can hear it in every shuffle of their slow footsteps. The misery of their inner child, beaten into their skin by their own absent parents, is so heavy that I can feel it in the sagging of their wrinkled shoulders.
My parents have loved me in the way they knew how. Denouncing their version of love makes me the human equivalent of rancid milk, but not denouncing it makes me painfully restless.
Loneliness is inevitable, and I need to shape it to fit my own map. This is how I’d like to experience it:
1. In my grimy apartment, after the movers have dropped the last of my boxes on the floor; I’ll trace my finger along the dust-filled windowsill and then shake hands with the beast. 2. Spread-eagle on my cheap mattress at four a.m., tossing a middle finger to the sleeping Lothario beside me and all of his farces. 3. Cradling myself when my apartment’s heat is broken and then peering down at my uterus, wondering whether the fleshy body of a baby would warm me up.
Although my void will still beg to be filled, I can at least distract her by scrawling my name on a rent check. A grimy apartment is all I need.
Loneliness is inevitable, and I shouldn’t rely on a man to be the rafter that’ll catch my fall into the whirlpool. Because, with each passing day, I become more convinced that we’re all just a collection of fragmented shards clumsily bumping into one another.
What if I, as a broken person, can’t satisfy my fellow broken person?
What if my hollowness echoes his until all we have is a haunting lament between us?
What if something as innocuous as the noon sun, shooting gold strands through my hair, makes him burn for a different woman’s body, from a different time and from a different place? And I, none the wiser, mistake his watery eyes for affection?
What if I won’t ever be able to stop asking “what if”? I swear that those two innocent syllables will become demonized as they beat against my brain.
Loneliness is inevitable because some higher power (quite selfishly) always wants us to be on the prowl for an unknowable thing; and we’ll tremble with the weight of emptiness until we fetch our spears to hunt for that thing. Loneliness is inevitable because my daddy, who was abandoned by his own daddy, abandoned me. Because. Because. Because.
But never mind all those dull reasons. All I need to know is this one thing: The sooner I make love to loneliness, the sooner I’ll shut the hell up, and be able to exhale – slowly, happily – as she thrusts in and out, wrapping me in the swirls of her cold breath.