Irena, Almost 71
After my divorce, I lived 25 years alone. In an effort to survive, I didn’t have time to think about being lonely until the weekends came. I remember how I hated weekends. I would start planning something already on Thursdays. Looking through the newspapers, to see if there something good happening. By good, I mean a free or cheap entertainment. Movies were an option, but my anxiety at being alone prevented me from really enjoying the entertainment. I would go around visiting my handful of friends I had. I lived in a relatively big city, but I was alone and lonely.
Then there is the stratum of citizens that are having the hardest time being alone. Older retired people, some of whom are heartbroken from the death of their spouse or disillusioned after divorce. Retirement removes the daily routine and responsibility of going to work. Without any hobby to fill in their free time, they become grouchy, depressed, sick, miserable, lonely.
I am married, but I am lonely sometimes. It goes like this: I am miserable, I don’t talk to my husband because he hurt me. He was rude! He offended me. He cut me off. He didn’t let me finish my sentence. Apparently, he knew what I wanted to say. And so, we walk by each other without a word, without eye contact. I walk and look through him. He is not there; he is invisible to me now.
I talk to myself about what a rude and disrespectful jerk he is. I have tears in my eyes whenever I think about the deep perceived injustice that happened to me. Nevertheless, after a few hours the veil of invisibility dissipates, and I forget why I’m not talking to him. Then there is the awkward situation. When we pass by each other, he has his eyes full of remorse and says “hi.” He has no clue what happened or why. So, I say “hi” back, and it’s over. “What can I do for you?” he asks, and I offer to make a dinner together.
There is that strange loneliness when there should not be any reason for it: people who live together, but don’t talk or see each other much; a family breaking apart when the kids leave home. Of course, there are marriages that never lose their spark, but I am not writing about that. I am exploring loneliness.