Sometimes I feel like the world is dark and everyone feels alone even if they are surrounded by millions of people everyday.
I walk the city with my headphones on jamming to happy music but still aware of the chaos that is going on around me. Yesterday I woke up feeling well rested thinking about all of the responsibilities that were before me and wondering if I had the energy to complete them all. Walking down the subway stairs there was a homeless man urinating on the wall next to me. It wasn’t the prettiest of sights but I couldn’t help but think, “he must think he is the only person on this planet.” I swiped my card and stood silently tapping my toe against the dirt coated cement platform, patiently waiting for the 4 Train to arrive. To my left there were people sitting on the bench waiting just like me and to my right a man picking his nose and spitting on to the tracks. Again I thought “he must think he is alone.”
As I dragged my heavy brief case onto the train shortly after, squeezing into the only space that was left for me to fit into. I noticed that everyone had no expressions on their face. No face was familiar yet I felt that each person felt the same feeling. Lonely. That’s not even really a feeling technically. The feeling is alone but it usually only applies to when a person is literally in a room by themselves.I stood thinking, “Somehow we have adopted the notion that lonely is alone and people are okay with that.” My guess is because they all agree. I studied the faces watched people watching me, analyzed the still empty expressions trying to decipher what chaotic thoughts, if any, that might have been going on in their minds, then to the right of me something caught my eye. A woman nearly thirty was eating yellow cookies. Yes. Yellow cookies. I can’t tell you what brand because they were just a stack of yellow cookies in clear wrapper. They didn’t look appetizing but she looked hungry so those yellow cookies were doing the trick. One thing that stuck out was her mole. As she ate it came to life, dancing on the tip of her lip and everyone noticed her dancing mole. I didn’t want her to think that I was thinking any negative thoughts about it because I was not, so I continued to stare at other people. I just couldn’t help but watch it. If it had arms you could say that it was waving at me, so I started looking again. This time she started to cough. shooting out yellow cookie through the cracks of her hand as she tried to cover her mouth. I figured she would get it together soon enough, but after tears started to form in her eyes, she replaced the cookie she was eating back in the bag, coughing forcefully, and tried to continuously gasp for air.
The trouble is…everyone just stopped looking at her. They all started to look down at the floor as if they didn’t notice this poor woman choking, when seconds before she was as interesting to them as a Broadway show. You’ll have to excuse my language but…what the fuck is wrong with people?! I knew at that moment inside my heart that this woman felt alone. No one knew her. No one cared that she could choke on her yellow cookie and die. I was so overwhelmed with disgust that I almost forgot that I had a large water bottle in my messenger bag but as soon as that thought kicked the others to the curb, I flipped my bag open and gently reached over two people’s heads to hand it to her with a compassionate smile. She was so distraught that she couldn’t even get enough breath to thank me. All she could do was chug the water down her throat clearing out the yellow cookie particles stuck there. My stop was coming up and she was still drinking fiercely but she looked towards me bottle to the sky and flashed the most thankful eyes you can imagine.
Sometimes I’m lonely when I’m alone, but when I’m not alone I know I’m not alone. I realize that there are others around me. I empathize with the other warm flesh close to me and have compassion for the cold hearts that I see in need. There are days when my life feels like purgatory and I question if I’ll make it to the end and what is the point yet still I stand, my angel, but a soldier for others so that in their time of greatest need, they don’t feel either lonely or alone.