Alone, yet Not Lonely
If not at dusk at dawn, she walks, or runs a lazy jog. Through still empty streets or rapidly emptying ones, mountain trails, sandy shores or pebbled paths. These hours belong to her; she belongs to these hours.
She is young; she is old. She tucks her hair in granny’s bun or girlish pony tail. She wears long-sleeved closed-necks or flimsy-strapped tight-fits. She usually comes in blue; but sometimes she bursts in blinding colors of yellow, orange or red.
She hums, she sings, she swears. Her mood shifts from smile, to frown to tears.
She talks to Him, to Her; to him, to them – those she holds most dear to her heart. “Oh, look, the flowers bloom for you!” “The leaves, the grass are greener this year.” “I wish you could see this!” “See these through my eyes!” “Don’t ever be other than kind, you hear?” “Be safe, keep safe!” “I miss you.” “I am with you.”
They are with her.
The air is still. When it is still, it hears, it listens. A bird quiets its twitter, then tweets louder, clearer, nearer to a song.
It is with her.
Her breath quickens by the mile as her feet push, pound, thud, crunch. Her arms swing in steady rhythm; sometimes she tucks them close to her chest, sometimes she flings them wide. Once or twice, her arms go round herself. And she is hugged. By those who were not there.
They are with her then.
As the sun grows hotter, or the night grows colder, she trudges back slowly. To where she started. To home. Or house? What is home? It is where your heart is. But, where is her heart? Not here. He is not here; they are not here. He, they are There. But she’s not There.
And she must be here.
More slowly, she takes the steps. To her room that felt not hers. The room where her life began and yet, where it may end. She gathers her sheet, and her three pillows, a name for each one. She plunks these on the sofa in the den, where the TV winks, whispers, blares. It never sleeps.
He, they may be over There; but they are all Here. With me. She whispers to herself: you said, this cross is too heavy; it is not. You said, this emptiness is too much; it is not. He, they do not bear the cross alone, nor the emptiness alone. It is shared. They share it with me. I bear it with them. The burden borne by shoulders four. The emptiness filled by arms of eight, reaching out, encircling through time and space.
She clenches her jaws, she clutches at all straws. As nothing is never too soon; nothing is never too late. Never give up. Never say never. The dream lives on, finds a way it must. Breathe for him, breathe for them. Just breathe!
Tomorrow is another day. Take the sun as rises. As it sets.
Those hours belong to her. Wondering, wandering – dawn gently peeping, shimmying forth. Settling, soothing, lingering dusk. Like a touch; like a hug. A here-I-am, here-I-go, here-I-am again. And again.
Long after her walk or her jog, at these hours long after dawn, long after dusk – she closes her eyes. A last tear squeezes through lids firmly shut tight. She sighs. She rushes to sleep gently calling, enfolding.
Alone but not lonely. Lonely but not alone. Whatever. Whichever.