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by Paul Rousseau

I lay on my bed, fall asleep, endure a nightmare, awake terrified, get up, drink some coffee, and then, again, as I did last hour, stare out the window.



It’s easy to disappear, to completely vanish, to leave intimacy behind and occupy the blind spot of other’s existences, to sit in a room amidst old magazines, collected dust, stale air, and music and words and lovemaking and arguments drifting beneath the door and through the thin walls that separate one from another, sitting, withdrawn into the loneliness of sickness, sadness, sorrow, and shyness, unable, after a time, to leave an imprint in the world, the world compressed into a one-dimensional image visited from a window: a distant bank, a grocery store, a bus, a taxi, a train, trees, and sidewalks congested with people, many lonely, moving like regimented ants within the margins of the city.

It’s easy to become possessed, and lost, with tablets, cell phones, computers, and video games, all colluding to lead the lonely to an electronic intimacy, their fingers tap, tap, tapping, braille-like, in the safety of cyber solitude, however, the intimacy is distant, virtual, imaginary, and seemingly safe, but it’s a simulated intimacy devoid of closeness, caring, and consequence.

Yet at times—and seemingly random—loneliness may be cracked by scattered scraps of sunlight, or the pale thumbprint of a full moon, or the dreams of a night ago, or the voice of a loved one, but alas, for many, it always seems to return, for it’s an endless burden, an emotional cancer of sorts, that rarely goes into remission.  

About the Author

Semi-retired physician and writer, published in medical journals and a smattering of literary journals, including The Healing Muse, Blood and Thunder, Intima. A Journal of Narrative Medicine, Months To Years, Cleaning up Glitter, Hektoen, Hospital Drive, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Tendon, Cooweescoowee, and others. Currently working on a collection of essays. Lives in Charleston, SC, longs to return to the west. Lover of dogs.

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