Loneliness was a huge underlying theme in my marriage. Framed by hopelessness, and the withdrawal of emotional intimacy out of necessity to survive, it was a constant dull ache of existence from which there seemed, like the rest of the heavily obscured forest, no real escape.
It was something I learned to live with as though it were a normal part of me, an appendage, just a necessary territory that was part of that relationship. Co-existing, sharing the space with it, and never imagining anything else. With him it was a cancerous growth, an excess of loneliness within, our marriage was. To be rid of it required amputation from my life.
Without my abusive partner, loneliness takes on a different form, so much so I hardly recognize it for what it is. Suddenly, an unrelenting void demanding to be filled. Now there are possibilities, and I have seen and felt them and loneliness is an unwelcomed foreigner I want to refuse to admit on grounds there is no real reason for it. Look at the misery I came from. What could possibly compare?
This loneliness is defined by that which is touchable, yet withheld. That which is possible, not quite close enough to reach. That which is joy, unsustainable. It is keen to remind me the sweetness I have only recently tasted. It will not leave me to be alone. It haunts me in the dark hours like an abandoned house, empty and unguarded, looks for a person to belong to.
I suspect this is what drives a person back to an abusive relationship, one where you can feel filled, overflowing with loneliness rather than this empty yearning. Where you can see your enemy rather than live in its ghostly haze, going through the motions and pretending it doesn’t exist but feeling its presence hot on your heels. Perhaps you cannot outrun either. Neither is truly escapable. But only one comes with any hope of a resolution.
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Psalm 25:16
For my friend L, thank you for reaching into the silence of christmas eve, when only the stars could see me. and you heard.