Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 400 words.
Notes: Gen. Obvious “Rocket Man” title. Spoilers for 2.06.
Loneliness is just a state of mind. You can be surrounded by people, even people who love and respect you, and still feel like you’re deserted in the Sahara. Or, you could be sitting by yourself, in an armchair, knocking back a fine twelve-year-old malt and still feel at one with the world – completely connected – in every way. Minds are tricky things. They like to confuse and torment all the systems of your body. They produce unwelcome reactions and contradict and contravene. They don’t play fairly.
They say those with families feel less lonely than only-childs and childless parents, but somehow I think that’s not entirely true. Because there’s something about the responsibility of a family that distances you. If you feel like you’ve got a duty toward someone, you can’t let them see your vulnerability. You can’t let them see you. And if they don’t see you, they don’t know you, and you’re an unknown quantity. There’s no understanding there. A great deal of loneliness is that sense that no-one does understand you, that you’re an enigma to all.
Not that there’s anything really wrong with being an enigma. Or even with feeling alone. Not on the odd occasion. Everyone gets like that sometimes. If we could read what was in each others’ heads, we’d probably never want to go near another human being again. There are things there in our own thoughts that we’d rather not revisit ourselves. But it’s to do with time. When it’s every moment of every day. Gnawing away at your insides. That you’re apart from everyone else. That you’ll always be apart. And time is such a fixed absolute. Forever is forever.
So. When there is someone. Someone who gets you, who understands, it’s hard not to grasp hold of that and hang on. You find yourself telling them about the father who slapped you ‘round because of what he’d seen in the war. And the brother who coped in a similar fashion, dopey enough to get himself wrecked on substances best left tossed to the side. And your someone sees everything that makes you what you are. The loneliness, for that moment, eases.
Unfortunately, it’s a two-way street. For you to feel completely comfortable, you need to understand them. You need to be able to see them from all angles, curves and lines. And the truth is, with some people, that’s impossible.