Imagine someone living alone, loosely tethered to their community, with family far away. Maybe this person wouldn’t say they are lonely – maybe they know how to muffle it, making cheery conversation in the grocery line – but the feeling is there, a moon tugging the tides of their days.

One day, a neighbor appears at their door. The two are decades apart and have shared pleasantries in passing, but nothing more. This time, the older neighbor holds a steaming bowl of soup. The occupant’s first thought is dread. I am being pitied. Still, the soup is good. Literally and figuratively, a heart is warmed.

Who have you imagined for these roles? Who have you cast? It is hard, now, to see myself as that house’s lonely inhabitant, having moved alone to Traverse City, Michigan, for a temporary teaching job when I was 27. I wore my loneliness like a rash, a secret under my sleeve as I walked my school’s hallways. The presence of my long-distance boyfriend, friends and family felt spectral, like cheery ghosts who appeared every now and then from my iPhone. My loneliness swelled whenever I heard groups of people my age coming back from bars downtown.

Read the full article in The Guardian here.

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