So for the longest time I seem to have lived a life half-dreamt. Days blend into weeks, weeks into months. Occasionally something noteworthy sticks in my mind, but the vast majority of the time lies forgotten. Dead time.
I live in a tiny village which lies on the intersection of three counties. A sign welcomes you to a different county depending on which route you take into the village. Many years ago, before the Beeching Axe, there was a railway station which transported people to local towns and villages, but only the decaying remnants of its platform, now overgrown with trees, persists. The village is dying – there is no shop, no pub, not even a footpath out to the nearest town, 5 miles away. The village is dying and I hate it here.
There was a time when I appreciated the solitude. Even now I still enjoy walking along the tiny roads which link the spattering of villages hereabouts; I usually imagine myself to be the last survivor of a great catastrophe, or a resistance member in occupied territory. That’s how I feel a lot of the time. Especially since I made the “mistake” of supporting the development of the local wind-farms. But enough about that. Let’s talk about what really bothers me – the isolation.
There is nobody here. Even in town there’s not many people I know. I appreciate my own space, but by Goddess, I’m lonely. I hiked into town today and met another pedestrian on the way, called Kaj. He too was from the village, although he was about a decade younger than me. We talked and walked, discussing the problems with life in the village, the general strangeness of the inhabitants, and a variety of other things. The sun was shining down, but a chill wind lingered, tempering the warmth. Still, this was offset by the heat generated by a 5 mile trek at a brisk pace. Eventually, however, Kaj and I parted ways, and I was alone again.
I trudged into town and grabbed a coffee at a local coffee shop. It’s become a habit of mine. I like to sit with a coffee and read, although today I wasn’t in the mood for reading. Instead, I sat and reflected. I looked at the people around me, listened to their conversation, and then something struck me. I was the only person in the place sat alone. Normally that wouldn’t bother me; I’d be engrossed in a book. But for some reason today it was particularly nagging. It still bothers me now as I write this.
So the two questions in my mind now are:
- Why the hell am I so alone?
- Why the hell do I care?
I’m not sure I can answer them. I’m not sure if answering them would even help. Maybe I’ll feel different tomorrow. Time will tell.