"I am a rock, I am an island ... I have my books and my poetry to protect me." -- Paul Simon
January 17, 1981
I walked home from their house last night, the cold wind eating through my pants like acid. I wasn’t angry, just tired of wasting time, being the third wheel on a bicycle made for two, the odd man out around two love birds cooing.
Love has a language all its own, excluding anyone else, and all I wanted to do the whole time sitting in their kitchen was to go home and write.
I resented being pulled out of my loneliness at home only to feel even more alone sitting beside them, having at least my books to provide company I couldn’t get sitting alone with them.
She’s my friend but often doesn’t see the impact of things like this. She thought she was doing good by having me over. Had I known how alone it made me feel with them, I wouldn’t have gone.
I waited for them to settle in front of the record player, debating what to play next, then snuck out the back door and down the steps under the cover of the music – which hid the click of the door lock and my rapid, stumbling feet on the stairs.
The cold wind and the flecks of flakes off the dunes left from three days of snow kissed my face. But the sky was clear and stars looked particularly stark, making my walk seem less lonesome .
I like them – and her too much – but I have my own ways of dealing with isolation: I write, I read, I invent little games, fighting the boredom with what few talents I have – alone – without offending anyone, without imposing on anyone, bored in the company of people I care about because they spend their lives sharing things I cannot share in, pained at the fact that he is lucky enough to have her when I can’t or won’t, or shouldn’t, knowing if I did, I would ruin what actually exists – yet insanely jealous watching them together, as they drink their beer and smoke their pot, sing songs to the record player, dance in each other’s arm, sharing each other with each other, but leaving no room for anyone else, so tender it makes me ache to watch.
They say love is blind, and maybe it is for those engaged in it, but not those on the outside looking in, and there is kindness on the inside even when it isn’t true love, providing a temporary euphoria better than heroin at curing pain, and she being the utter romantic, somehow thinks my being around her and her love is somehow contagious, passionately blind to the pain it arouses when I ache to be the one on the inside looking out instead of the other way around.
So walking in the cold, under the stars, towards an empty apartment made me feel real again, stinging less in the cold wind than in the warm romantic haze of a threesome in which I have no part except as an observer.