To some people, the word is the title to a song by the rock group, "Heart." The band, led by sisters, Ann and Nancy Wilson, was big in the late 1970s until the early 1990s. Nancy is married to movie writer, director and producer, Cameron Crowe.
For me, alone was a way of life! Yet, there are many forms of being alone. The first is the most obvious, the alone of being off on some deserted island, cut off from the world, and truly alone.
I do not look upon that as the worst form of being alone.
Consider the movie "Castaway." Tom Hank's character was alone, yet he still had a "friend" in the form of Wilson, his soccer ball. In a very real sense, he was not alone. Granted, some might call him schizophrenic, but it was a means of dealing with his physical isolation.
No, the worst form of being alone is to be surrounded by people, yet still totally alone. For in that instance, you suffer the loneliness of the soul, the mind, and the heart. You can be at a party, even among friends and family, and yet - there is that gaping gulf that separates you from them. Oh, that is the most painful form of being alone; to have your mind and body hunger for contact with another soul, and being denied that. To be within arm's reach of literally dozens of people - yet be a thousand miles away.
For so many years, that was my fate; to be merely an observer of the joyous world about me, but never a part of it, never able to participate. To cope with that, I built up mental barriers; I convinced myself I was but an alien dwelling among these humans, sent to watch and study their "primitive" concepts - love, companionship, and so on.
Only those who've been denied the simple sensation of contact with another mortal can truly understand the depths of that pain.
Then, there came a change to my life; a change I thought never would come. Into my life came a lovely young lady who did not turn away from me. In retrospect, I can't blame those who did; I was a geek to the nth degree! What woman could find that at all attractive?
But, this lady saw beyond the brown socks with the shorts, the plaid button-down shirts with the striped pants, and looked into my soul. There she found a soul mate; a man worthy of connection. And with that, my years -- my centuries! -- of being alone came to an end. Here at last was a lady who let me into her world.
All those forms of being alone: the physical, the mental, the loneliness of the soul, they ended, and I felt joy such as I had never known. From that time to this day, I have known love, companionship, and the joy that comes from something as simple as basic human contact.
May we all be lucky enough to find such a person to share our lives with.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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