Tuesday, 19 January 2010


Loneliness is underrated by a lot of people. Or should that be overrated? I’m not sure which: it’s circumstantial really. Being alone makes you look deeper inside yourself than you ever normally have to; genuine soul-searching. Whether discovering things you never knew about yourself is a good thing or not depends entirely on what it is you find. I’m used to being alone, there’s nothing left inside me that I haven’t unearthed and embraced years ago. Charlie, on the other hand, is only just beginning to understand the true horrors of being really alone and the ratifications of coming to terms with his inner self.

Almost everyone knows what it feels like to be ignored and left out, but what happens to those feelings if a person is left on their own for long enough? Have you ever been somewhere completely dark; so black that your eyes can’t see your hand in front of your face? Every sound is amplified in your mind: you can hear your own breathing as loud as thunder and your heart pounds in your chest like a bass drum. Loneliness is the dark room: every insecurity, doubt and feeling of worthlessness is the breathing and heartbeat. It becomes unbearable and you’ll fight for a way out.

Escaping the dark is as easy as turning on a light : escaping loneliness is a completely different ball-game. How do you overcome the feeling of being an outcast, a nobody, if you can’t interact with anyone? The longer it goes on the harder it becomes; as in the eyes of the Others you’ve become the subject of whispered conversation and the target of casual, almost fearful, glances.

Charlie has found himself in that position. He’s never had someone he could call a friend, the closest he came was a blissful fortnight when he was fifteen and a new family had moved in a few doors down from his home. A boy named Russel, a few months younger than him and only child like Charlie, had quickly befriended him; keen to escape his parents and the irksome task of unpacking. Charlie showed him round the neighbourhood, revelling in the company, finally feeling like he could relax and let his guard down. He soon lived to regret it though; the summer holidays ended, school restarted and Russell soon made more friends and heard all the stories of the “odd kid” who lived on his street. The worst part was that Russell’s new friends were the bullies who hounded Charlie, and Russell was quick to inform them of all Charlie’s favourite haunts. I’m not sure Charlie has trusted anyone since. Not until he met me anyway.

I mentioned Charlie is an only child; it’s worth expanding on that slightly now so you can get to know him a bit better. He was raised by his father, Shaun Evans; a tall but rather wiry man (years of forgotten meals due to inebriation) but with surprising strength. Charlie has been on the wrong end of his temper many times in the fifteen years since his mother left. Shaun turned to drink after his wife left him sleeping one night; no note, no goodbye – but somehow the whole town seemed to know she’d run off with his younger brother. She’d left him to raise their son alone. Charlie, still in nappies at the time, has no memory of Beth; there are no pictures of her in the house and his father never talks about her. He only found out she’d run off with his uncle through playground taunts from his classmates.

Anyway, back to my starting point; the way true loneliness reveals the inner self, the daemons lurking at the very base of the conscious mind. Everyone’s got them, most never find them though. Charlie’s had been calling out to him for a while before I showed him how to open the door and hear them more clearly. He was very grateful. All of a sudden, he told me, his life had a purpose. No more self-pity, enough feeling hard-done-by. I would say he changed overnight but it was much quicker than that. Right in front of me I saw his eyes suddenly held a gleam that, seconds before, had been absent. He even stood different, more upright and purposeful. Gone was the nervous, shifty-looking teenager; before me stood a young man with a mission.

That night I began making my own plans. I knew I couldn’t stick around for long, but I’ve always had this addiction to mayhem. What’s the point of throwing a match if you don’t stay to admire the fire?


About Me

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I'm a single mum with two gorgeous children. I love every second with them, despite the fact that they can sometimes drive me crazy!