Creative Fiction Profile | Loneliness and Headaches

Anything to take the mind off this headache.

He lit up a smoke and slowly laid down, hands behind his head. He took a deep inhale and closed his eyes, ignoring the throbbing in his forehead and focusing on the feeling of the smoke in his lungs. He always enjoyed the feeling. Anytime someone tried to tell him it was going to give him cancer someday, he always rolled his eyes. The upsides always outweighed the downsides in his eyes. Whatever happens, happens; if he’s going to die, at least he’ll die happy.

He didn’t smoke cigarettes. That was the distinction he always made. Cigs had little redeeming qualities. He just smoked weed. It wasn’t as big of a deal. And it was legal here now, anyway, so who’s going to stop him? His mom? She lives across the country.

The weed always helped with the headaches. Even when it doesn’t make them go away entirely, it at least gives him a few hours of serenity. That’s all he can ever ask for. He isn’t one to complain about his life, he’s doing alright for himself, got a good group of friends and a job that pays well enough for his living habits.

If he has any complaints, though, it’s the loneliness that looms over him at night. It always happens around 11 PM. His friends one by one say goodbye for the night and he’s left there by 2 o’clock with a half-smoked spliff and an empty chest. When his friends ask him if he’s doing alright, he says he’s fine. He means it most of the time, too. Them reaching out to him is enough to make his heart a little warmer.

He can’t deny though, that when the last of the group leaves to go to bed, he feels a piece of his heart break more. For a while, he thought he’d be happy being single. He wouldn’t mind if he spends the rest of his days with his friends doing whatever they want every night after work. But after a few friends got married and drifted, he felt that the group was growing smaller and someday it would be just him.

The problem was, he’d been in relationships before and they always ended the same way. He had a track record for being cheated on and ghosted. After the fourth one came and went, he swore off dating for a while. He said it was only for a short period, until he regained his trust in romance. But weeks turned to months turned to years and now he ends every night with a bong rip and a sigh.

His headache started to drift away, and as did he. It was the middle of the day on a Saturday and he had plans at 7.

He awoke from his weed-induced nap with a rumbling stomach. The sun had already set. Before he had time to regain his bearings on the world, he heard a knock on the door. It was Mark. He brought a six-pack of their favorite beer and a new board game. The rest of the gang would be over shortly.


storms

I’m not lonely,

I just miss you

like I miss a hurricane.

You leave me a wreck

and I heard them talking

of fallen trees and branches

I can’t help but think

I lost some, too.

I didn’t think I

could miss a disaster

but love and hate

often get mistaken.

Not lonely, just alone

I stood alone in the middle of a crowd,

knowing no one around me, I felt safe.

As if for some reason, because I knew

no one, I couldn’t be harmed. Because

everyone was busy doing their own thing

and what was I but another passerby.

Still I stood there, and I watched busy

faces go around me, I couldn’t help but

smile. I was not going to be spoken to

by anyone. I was in this alone and I was

here alone, I didn’t have to worry about

what to say to people, or what they’d say

to me. Because no one was going to talk

to me and that was the beauty of this. No

one even cared. No one cared that I stood

there in the way, no one cared that I was

smiling at no one and at everyone. No one

cared. And I found comfort in that. It was

not a sad comfort, it was a relief. I was

free.

Her, alone

She drove until she reached the forest, camped there for the night, and drove on to the next. It had been a week-long journey with no defined end. Teary-eyed and broken-hearted, she made the spontaneous decision to travel by car until she couldn’t remember his name. Or at least until it didn’t hurt to think about his bright blue eyes and his contagious smile.

She inhaled sharply as she merged into the right lane on the vast and ever lonely stretch of highway. She had just passed the only car she’d seen in the last five hours and the weight of her reality had been pulling her deeper and deeper into a pit of sadness, like a ton of bricks on her barely beating heart.

When she decided on this trip, she didn’t realize how depressing it would be. Traveling alone is clearly lonely, but she realized this just too late. It should have been obvious beforehand. Any sane person would’ve known traveling alone is as lonely as it gets. But she wasn’t sane. She was a grand mess- hair askew, nail polish chipping, the same shirt she’d been wearing since he told her he found someone new. She couldn’t bring herself to buy new clothes.

Work called her yesterday when she didn’t show up for her shift. She had a long talk with her boss about love and life and to make sure to keep them up to date on when she’s coming back. She was fortunate enough to have a job she could leave and come back to as she pleased. She was also fortunate enough to have the money saved up to go on an indefinite endeavor across the country.

None of that mattered, though, because the whole time she was miserable. She wanted to go home, but couldn’t bring herself to head that way. A part of her wanted to live out here. She was in the forests of Washington, thousands of miles from home. All she had were the clothes on her back and her water bottle, but the thought of stopping at home to collect her things- where her now-ex-boyfriend also lives- made her nauseous. She thought a lot about just how hard it would be to transfer to the Seattle brand, get an apartment, new clothes, furniture.

She found herself surveying houses in the suburbs. This one’s too small, that one’s got no driveway, this one would be nice. Oh, and an open house. It won’t hurt to go in. I can say I’m thinking of moving out here from Massachusetts. It’s true and doesn’t invite too many questions I can’t answer. Oh, and it’s cheap, too. I could afford this if I transferred to the Seattle branch. I should call my boss….