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Being lonely is not the same as being alone: SOL 19

Write. Share. Give. Join the March Slice of Life Story Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers
Twenty Two Years Old: 1991  Binghamton NY

I am lonely in my first job because I don’t know anyone in this town and because teaching Pre K is very difficult work. I am also lonely because I make $6.25 an hour and this isn’t enough to take care of my life. 

I am invited by the parent of one of my students to join her for a drink in a local bar. When I sidle up to the bar and say hello, she introduces me to a very handsome red headed bartender. I order a Chardonnay, house. After two drinks, my friend decides to go home, but I stay for another drink. 

I am lonely. 

I start to talk with the bartender and find out that his name is Travis. We get along great as bartenders tend to do with people who buy drinks. It is closing time and Travis asks if I want to stay and chat while he closes up. 

I am drunk. I am so drunk that I am watching myself sit there. This out of body experience is one with which I am familiar.  

When the final customer departs, Travis and I walk down to a small office to cash out. I am distracted as I think about how much I enjoy laughing and how flattered I am that such a handsome man is taking an interest in me. My mother whom I am living with at the moment has been commenting incessantly on my weight since my return from college. It is nice to feel attractive for a moment. 

When I return from my thoughts, I am on the dirty orange shag carpet. My face is close to cigarette burn holes and the cash drawer. On top of me is Travis, but I am high in the corner of the room by the ceiling watching it all go down. 

Stop! I think, but instead I act as though I am enjoying it. 

Stop! I want to scream, but instead I tell him I like it. 
When I arrive home I howl as a wolf who has lost her pups. My stepfather (my mother's third husband) wakes up and races to my room. I wail and bang my head against the back of the door to my room. I cannot stop. I can barely tell him what is wrong. He finally gets me to lie down and sleep. 

In the morning I cannot go to work. I cannot stop crying. It is a cry that relieves nothing. I hate myself because I am not thin. Or pretty. Or much of anything really. I hate myself because I will do anything for people who like me. I hate myself because I will also do anything for people who treat me poorly. 

It is my stepfather who shows me that I am worth time and patience. He buys me a dog to take care of and he makes me good food. He helps me find a place to live nearby where my mother can’t tell me inaccurate things every single day. He also works near where I do and he meets me every day at lunchtime. We just sit and eat together. We don’t talk about much and that’s what makes it perfect. 

He saves me because he loves me. He doesn’t need to tell me, I know the difference.


  1. Being lonely can be so desperate. People who have not been stranded, and truly alone do not have any idea.

  2. Most of us are afraid to look at this place of loneliness. It's raw. So exposed. You are brave and beautiful.

  3. The loneliness is felt throughout your writing. It is raw and honest.

  4. It takes courage to share this story. It is not easy to handle lonely. Having a person to help you through this tough period made a difference.

  5. I'll center on the second half of your piece (while acknowledging the first) as it reminds me that there are many ways to show love in this world, through simple gestures and pure acts of kindness, and sometimes, those actions save others from loneliness or worse. Sometimes, they save ourselves. Writing this piece of memory, and sharing this piece here, took courage. You honored us with your story, Kim. I hope we honor you with our comments.

  6. As Kevin said, you honored us by sharing your story, Kim. You have a gift for honestly portraying the complexities of profound memories. I admire your courage in facing these moments fully and in exposing the hurts and the raw wounds to the light of day. Even more I am moved by your ability to craft a full picture, one that resonates with loneliness and pain but also with the redemption of love and kindness. I hope that writing about such moments is a healing process.

  7. A hard story to tell, a hard story to read. To lift a line from the jasonrsite blog, you are able to "run towards the sharp points in your life" in such a way that pulls no punches, but always includes the complex humanity of those involved--including yourself. You are brave to be be this vulnerable, and you have a warm, safe community of writers as a landing place for your story.

  8. My heart ached as I read what happened and how you were feeling.
    Then my heart was so touched by the care of your stepfather. Such love.
    You are strong and courageous.

  9. If feared for you as your story unfolded. I felt relieved by the gentle love of your stepfather, another man who would make it right and not more wrong, a blessing in the midst of tragedy and loneliness. What a brave writer you are. As others have said, you honor us with your trust.

  10. The importance of one person... one person CAN make a difference in a life - either way.
    Your story was a heavy weight lifted. Isn't it wonderful that times have changed for you and you can rejoice in the fact that you are truly OK just as you are? I'm glad you had that wonderful stepfather. What a gift. And now you pass that gift on every day. Thank you.

  11. Kevin said it best, you honor us with sharing this piece of yourself. You are brave. You are strong. You are beautiful. The love shown by your stepfather is open and accepting and what you needed. Thank you for sharing this part of you with all of us.

  12. Thank you for sharing such a difficult time. I have been through some of those feelings myself, but now I look back and it makes me sad for myself and for you that anyone should feel such loneliness. This is such a powerful piece!

  13. What an incredibly powerful story. I agree with everyone else who said thank you for sharing this and you are so brave to share it and be so vulnerable. You are such a strong person! I love how you were able to find love in your stepfather. It sounds like he is a wonderful man in your life!

  14. It took me some time to come back to comment - I was to impacted emotionally by your writing to respond. I first needed to feel it and just be with you in it. I also agree with Kevin in that I feel honored that you shared your story with us. I am also humbled by your stepfather who knew just what to do and how to do it -- it seems to personify true, selfless love. You are strong and beautiful. This writing shows you have come to know this about yourself. Your writing was perfectly crafted.

  15. The loneliness spilled through your words---I couldn't help but hang on for the ride. This, I'm sure, was a tough one to write and remember, but one that has touched me profoundly. Thanks.

  16. What a blessing your stepfather was in your life. To just be there for you. No talking, no judging, just being. Thank you for sharing.

  17. You are such a powerful person to write this; it humbles me...the sheer honesty of it!


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