Fortress of solitude

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.



  1. teardropsofink

    I have asked myself that question many times. The ‘why am I alone’ and ‘why do I care’? I know the answer to the first one……I just can’t figure out the answer to the second one.

    • 2Karl

      It seems to become (for me at least) a cyclical problem; the times when I realise that I am not always entirely alone serve to heighten the sense of loneliness I feel when I am isolated. Why do I care? I guess because, for a fleeting moment, I can occasionally see that it shouldn’t be this way.

      Hell if I can fix it though. And we’re back to square one.

  2. teardropsofink

    I have found that even when I am around other people, I am still alone. And I think that hurts more than being actually all alone. Sometimes isolation and solitude is needed. But when the people around you don’t really know you……..then that is worse.
    And yeah, I guess the reason we care about being alone is that we weren’t created to be alone. We need and crave human companionship, for some reason.

    • 2Karl

      My feelings exactly. I guess you could say I’m “non-standard” in my ways of thinking. The few friends I have appreciate and respect that, but I have real difficulty in finding common ground for conversation. There’s this horrible dichotomy of craving human contact while fearing the attention it brings. And I guess I have nobody to blame for that but myself.

      • teardropsofink

        And I’m not exactly normal, either. A very few people accept me for that, but most just look at me quite oddly. Wow, that’s it exactly! I never knew anybody else felt like this. That fear that grabs the need in it’s strong, dreadful, black grip. And the need cries out, but succumbs. It’s sad, and different, but that’s what it’s like inside my head.

  3. 2Karl

    It’s certainly interesting to note those similarities. I sometimes enjoy the odd looks though. But it is reassuring to know that there are others out there in similar situations. Heh, I never really expected this blog to be read by anyone, let alone provide interesting conversation. I guess thank Goddess for the Internet.

    • teardropsofink

      Yes……if people give you an odd look, just give ’em an even odder look right back! Defy normalcy – it’s overrated, anyways. I never really expected anybody to read my blog either – it’s just a place for me to vent, to get my jumbled thoughts all organized. Otherwise they would just run rampant inside my head, twirling around in a devilish dance and make me insane. I never thought anyone would really read it, much less understand what I am going through! It is nice to feel that I am not as alone in this as I thought I was.

      • 2Karl

        Oh indeed. Beside, who defines what is normal? Surely that is a task for each individual. True honour is maintaining your values when all around you have abandoned theirs.

        Take comfort in knowing there are others out there. Makes me wonder just how many more there are, who are to afraid to speak out.

      • teardropsofink

        Perhaps ‘normal’ is just a shallow stereotype that, in the eyes of humanity, we must all conform to. But I cannot abandon who I really an for the sake of ‘fitting in’. I take great joy in not being ‘normal’.

        True. I wonder how many people can’t bring themselves to let some of it out. Who maybe don’t have access to the Internet, or any other medium as a form of release. Or maybe are just too fearful to do anything. Maybe by the reading and writing of our own struggles, we can help them not to be so afraid.

      • 2Karl

        Were we to do that, I think we could both be happy in the knowledge that our efforts have served a higher purpose.

        Oh and never forget the words of Janis Joplin: “I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I pretended to be.” Words to live by.

      • teardropsofink

        I think if I ever were to think of abandoning my blog, that now I shall remember this conversation and not be able to. Because I shall remember it is not entirely for myself to feel some clarity and release, its not just me that I am writing for any longer.

        Oh……that entirely sums up what I was trying to say. Yes…..definitely words to live by.

      • 2Karl

        I have this penchant for starting projects and never finishing. Then again, I guess with no specific end goal, this could not possibly truly end.

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