There will be no dialogue because there rarely is. I am speaking to you because I haven’t in a long time and my body has sucked into my seat as a new flesh—nothing holy, but not unlike religion in the West. But I am an individual, not a movement. Some individuals are Fathers or Mothers to social incline, but I find it easier to process and consume my knowledge through documentaries I’ve recorded on my television. But I wouldn’t say I’m lazy. It’s been viewed, laziness, as something you can see once and distinguish, but with anything, you can’t know a life based on a single viewing. There are layers under my current state that reach further than viewership and into something observed with a third eye, as it’s been said.
The clocks have since stopped. Time is irrelevant and I’ve slowly separated myself from it, inadvertently. It began when Chuck died, and as we had no children, I discontinued my cell phone service. I still have a landline, as do most of my neighbors, but it’s used much less frequent than those. I’ve no need for a senior home as I can take care of myself just fine. Hardly moving wasn’t my original intent, it just became irrelevant, going to and from.
I spent a lot of my life on coasts and port ships. I sailed and took care of myself, and I married late and loved him dearly. He got down sick and passed on, but we had twenty years of life together, the size of an adolescent, so in our love we bore the world a child of adventure. This may seem a excuse to you, but it just wasn’t in the cards, and I was fully content in that. We were guardians for many of our friends’ children, and I can recall a time when a little girl I stayed with in Cape Town told me she was her golden hair momma, and I was okay with that.
Since then, contact has died down between these connections, and it’s no ones fault. I don’t even blame myself.
You’ve asked me to explain why I’ve contacted you, and to be honest, I was never a lonely person. But recently it hit me: I think everyone is, in some sense, lonely. I once heard in a church service, the two greatest of human fears are loneliness and death. It’s interesting how getting older only means those fears are now reality, and one is just supposed to accept this as such. But I would like you to know that I am past acceptance. I believe I accepted loneliness and death the day I was born. I would like to argue that I’ve contacted you out of fruition.
Let me explain.
To be gregarious has far less to do with personality than with circumstance.
I was moving very fast, always. Never a moment did I have to stay still, and when I did, I would read, sleep, at cafes and never at home, wherever that was at the time. Chuck and I always knew they’d be one, a home, someday, but that was something we could always point toward. We never saw it as something that would stop us, but it was supposed to propel us forward.
I would eat french fries for fun and mimosas for the Vitamin C. I lived on the edge in the simplest and most vague way. When I would sail, it was always the waves that kept me from feeling unsettled. I was most likely constantly seasick without realizing it. Chuck would eat the exotic foods everywhere we landed, and I’d blame my nervous system when ordering potatoes and ginger ale, or I’d blame myself for being American. There were many ways I saw myself as distracted, unnoticed to myself, that’s what I will call it.
My mother died the year thefirst two men walked on the moon, the same year rock n roll set into the soil of the states. I didn’t cry until after Chuck died, though I’d say my mother and I were very close. I had already been on the water twenty years, and I hadn’t seen her in ages, that’s what I told myself. Please don’t see me as insensitive. It isn’t as if I didn’t shed a tear, but I should have been hysterical—I should have been in agony. Grief is a precious gift, and I should have lived it. I found it too late, and this is where you’ve found me, and yet my heart is still caked—no avalanche, no mud, just some stone on a distant shore. I’ve accepted my own inabilities, but it’s kept me too still. It’s as if I’m catching up on sleep as I live sedentary. I am bearing my fruits.
It’s nice to know that I don’t know who you are. If I did, I wouldn’t admit a thing—the loneliness, or the lack of grief there of. But I’m afraid I’ve been watched. I want to know what made your flyer end up in my newspaper, unless, are you targeting everyone?
Believe me, I don’t think I’m alone, though that’s exactly what I am. I know that this is an epidemic, as I wouldn’t have seen myself as lonely at any point until now. It’s an awkward thing to admit, even to the closest of loved ones.
Let me end by saying that I’ve pursued filling this void with the Internet, but it seems to make matters worse. My neighbor let me know of it and has since not seen me face to face but let me know happy birthday on my wall. I very much appreciated the thought, but I would have liked to seen her smile. She loves baking and always sent me the most wonderful apple pies. I just wonder if she still makes them.
Do others write to you or does each client call? I find letter-writing to be much more satisfying. I cannot seem to admit anything in speech, nor do I articulate anything well at all when speaking. My stutter and sluggishness may have kept many away, but as I said, this is no one’s fault.
The only thing I ask of you is this: Don’t try to solve anything for me. I’m an old woman, and I need only to be heard. If you write back with any advice, our correspondence will end immediately.
Thank you for bringing your services stateside.