We like to imagine that we’re part of something. That there’s some group out there that accepts us fully, as we are, no compromises necessary, and that once we’ve joined hands, that bond will never be broken. And for awhile, that might seem like an option that could be true. For those of us who have families, those parents and siblings represent connections that we like to believe can never be severed. Some of us find those close ties with friends from school or work, or even through our extracurricular endeavors. But eventually school ends, office intrigue creates tension, our sports teams have to leave the field for the season. It’s then that we’re forced to acknowledge reality. We are alone. We’re born alone, we live alone inside our heads as we grow old and fat and begin to decay, and even if someone is holding our hand in those last few precious seconds of breath, we will die just as alone as we have been in every second that has come before.
Often these days I’ll be going about my daily business, renaming files or posting something on social media – something incredibly banal – and all of a sudden I’ll remember my boyfriend, and a hot flash of joy will splinter my thoughts for a second. It occurs to me then that he makes me happy. I remember how it feels to hold hands in the dark, and to open my eyes against the night to find that I can make out his eyes, also open, peering right back at me. I can’t see his smile, but I can see just a hint of a crinkle to the corners of his eyes, and I know he’s looking on me with love, a love that I’m beaming right back to him. I know that moment when it happens, and then I know it all over again when I remember it later, and I know it right now, as I type this. Most of all, I know that even though I am still alone, and will live and die alone as every other creature on this planet has since the dawn of time, I am not lonely. I’ll take that.