This Christmas, a loneliness has crept up on me, a feeling I haven't felt in a while. That feeling of wanting so badly to kiss someone and having no one to kiss. Going to a holiday party at a friend's house and staring at a flickering candle, wishing you were anywhere else with any other flickering candle. Trying to be social but not able to fake enjoyment or interest in new people. Trying to drink more, to feel brighter, but just feeling sleepy.
But it's okay, because the fear of loneliness is so much worse. Living in some dark in-between place where you write letters to former flames and pray to god for some guidance, anything, a response, some hate mail even. You trick yourself into believing you can't be alone if someone hates you. You shield yourself from the reality that you are always alone, no matter what, hated or loved, a night light flickering on and off. The fear becomes your shadow, or a security blanket you drag behind you like a weight. It never leaves you.
But when you stop fearing your solitude and accept it, then graduate from accepting to embracing it, loneliness gets this odd sterling lining. You feel sad but the sadness doesn't dominate you. There's no shadow, no blanket, and it's okay. You watch couples holding hands on trains and you don't feel bitter or wonder if you'll know what that's like again. You pick a person and a place and you make up stories to fill that space, you temper loneliness with creativity. You see a diner on a cab ride to an airport, and you imagine stopping in alone on a rainy day, your rubber soles scuffing linoleum, sitting at a table and warming your hands on a cup of coffee. You look up and a man is watching you from the counter. Not in a creepy way, he's just drinking coffee too. He walks to the bathroom and on his way back you reach out and grab his hand and ask him to join you, just something they do in the movies. The whole script takes place right there, just a conversation across a table with a man you love by the time the check comes.
When you embrace your solitude is when you can make something beautiful out of it. Until then, you're just a coward, cowering in the crevices of the candlelight, hoping a strong wind won't blow you out.