Last night, I was celebrating my 28th birthday. For the whole past week, the only thing I could think about was how I regret telling my friends about my intentions to throw a party on a Friday night. I really didn’t feel like partying at all, let alone celebrating my birthday and being at the centre of attention. But, by the time I could call the thing off, it was too late and they all said they’re coming.
It wasn’t the best birthday party from my point of view, let me tell you. Ironically, this morning I received a couple of messages from friends thanking me for inviting them and saying what a great time they had.
Not to be ungrateful or anything, I loved having them over and even more so now that I know they had fun. On that particular night, though, I felt more distant from them than ever. There were numerous situations when I caught myself not even listening to what they were talking about and truth to be told, I can’t recall one meaningful conversation from that night.
At one point during the party, I broke down in tears and was unable to stop it. Some people who were sitting close to me were asking me what had happened but I don’t even remember what I replied. What I do remember, though, was that it miraculously didn’t affect the overall mood and atmosphere, which I was grateful for.
Sitting amongst the group of friends has never felt so lonely. I could almost tangibly feel the abyss between me and them. It was as I weren’t even there. As if I were merely perceiving their presence indirectly, through a screen or a glass wall. And that was the strangest feeling.
Before going to bed, I almost cried my eyes out. My lungs and heart burned and felt heavier than ever. My flatmate got woken up by my howling and went to check up on me, but I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) give him a proper explanation. In the morning, he asked me what happened so I mustered all my strength and began to cry my heart out very awkwardly but was immediately disarmed with his first reaction: “Oh, that again? I thought you were already getting over it.” Okay, I gave up.
Is this age really that rotten by social media that emotions, problems and broken hearts fall into oblivion like yesterday’s posts in our news feed? Are we all condemned to living with masks on our faces, pretending to be that person others see on social media? Opposite to emoticons, likes, tweets and Instagram posts, real people still have real emotions. Our followers will never be able to replace real friends and real relations we have.
At least, that’s how it should be. But then… how is it even possible that the more I try to express my feelings and emotions to my friends, the more lonely I feel? They say it’s not good to hold your emotions in, that you should let them out, but does it help when you do and you end up being either misunderstood, trivialised or worse – not even listened to?
Yesterday, I couldn’t help feeling how our inability to listen and empathise can dig a great big hollow canyon between two people.
And those dreadful canyons make us lonely.
Computers and smart phones make us lonely.
We’re trying to cover our loneliness by working more, posting more, drinking more or shopping more.
But in fact, nothing will ever beat togetherness.
Yesterday, despite being among friends, my mind wandered to a different place. In my thoughts I was with the man I love, the only person I want to be with, the one I cannot be with. I thought about us dancing in the living room to our song. How he sang the song to me and gave meaning to the lyrics. How our noses touch when we’re about to kiss. I was recalling his scent, the funny wrinkles around his eyes, his peaceful voice.
So there, in the middle of the crowd, I went on to fight loneliness by withdrawing into my fantasy.
And amid my day-dreaming, I thought of a poem:
Meet me in the depth of time
amid the uncountable stars.
In a place that only exists
in our perfect fantasies.
Meet me there today
or in a million years
Come to me and stay
You know the way
I would scribble it onto a piece of paper and leave it for him on the pillow or I’d stick it in his pocket and wait impatiently until he finds it.
I certainly would. Were it not for the canyon between us.