I sit alone in a coffee shop, eating my way through a warm cinnamon bun with cream cheese frosting dripping along its top. I watch the steam rising from my macchiatto, my eyes passing over the sweet caramel crisscrossing the foamy milk froth layered on top of the espresso. My mind is taken over by random thoughts, and in a few quick seconds, my features run the gamut of emotions usually reserved for exciting conversations. Flights of fancy or existential musings, my brain has decided to think wildly and freely, and the end result of my intellectual meanderings are usually as unusual as they are surprising.
I do not understand why some people can be so scared of those few instances they find themselves alone. Perhaps, in that rare moment where their thoughts are allowed free rein; where, in a way, they are forced to engage in a “conversation” with themselves, they realize something they do not want to admit. Maybe, for them, loneliness is an enemy they must overcome with overflowing scheduled commitments, boundless enthusiasm for random activities, and countless, countless acquaintances and friends. Maybe, in that small period of loneliness, they realize how afraid they are of the darkness it represents.
But I’ve learned, even at a young age, that the darkness can be a friend. It isn’t always, and sometimes the darkness can consume you and bury you in its endlessness. But I’ve always relished those moments when I can engage in those thoughts we usually can not access unless we have dealt with each of our own individual brands of loneliness. Through that darkness, I’ve discovered pain, and sadness, and beauty. It is like a patient lover, always waiting to accept me in its embrace.