building your castle


I used to always fantasise about meeting a classy woman in a bar, overseas, while drinking a cocktail as some pianist played Fly Me To The Moon in the background. I pictured it being just like the movies: she’d be sitting across from me, and I’d glance up at her and say something witty, and she’d say something witty back, and by the end of the night she’d be all mine. This of course never happened. I’ve never encountered a beautiful woman sitting alone in a bar—the only attractive women I ever saw sitting alone in nice bars were either prostitutes or women waiting for their lovers or friends. I’ve seen plenty of men sitting alone in bars, though. They’d always be drunk, and they’d always interrupt other people’s conversations. I once saw a man shit himself in a bar. I once shit myself outside a bar.

I wonder who feel lonelier: men or women? I’m selfish when I’m lonely. I don’t write. I don’t eat. I stare out at the world but stay inside my own thoughts. Christie told me the cure for loneliness is to be a friend for other lonely people. Maybe the next time I see a drunk guy shit his pants in a bar I’ll be his friend. I’ll buy him more drinks. I’ll buy him some curry. I’ll Uber with him to my place and see if my fresh pair of shorts will fit him. I’ll put his shitty pants in my washing machine and as we wait for them to wash I’ll sit there, giving him water, patiently listening to him drunkenly mumble about his life.

I’m rambling because I just found out a friend passed away. He had cancer. His last post was Facebook was this: I’m feeling better now!

I was listening to an audiobook about humans. About introverts, about extroverts, about narcissists, about jealous people, about angry people, about hurt people. Over the years I’ve come to realise that I’m caught in my head too much. I decided to find multiple cures for my inner sadness. What I did was, I built a castle. I built it out of exercise, out of meditation, out of developing healthy life habits, out of setting goals, out of pressing into God, out of getting good sleep, out of love. Love! Imagine that. The cure for everything—love. As I walked in my own self pity one day I encountered a woman with no shoes. She asked me for money and I said, “I’ll buy you a meal instead,” and I took her to a restaurant, and she asked me, “Why are you sad?” and I told her so and so, and she told me, “You know what you should do? Dedicate only one day to being sad, and make every other day of your life a day of happiness.” I was touched by this advice, so I decided to show her the castle of happiness I made out of regular exercise, out of meditation, out of eating healthier, out of developing wholesome habits, out of setting goals, out of being a friend to other people, out of love. “That’s a beautiful castle,” she told me. I said, “Isn’t it? Can you see it shine beyond the skies? Can you see it melt the earth and enamour the moon? Can you see it kiss the galaxies and fall asleep in fresh gardens? Can you breathe in its magnificence?” She smiled, and I felt angry, and then I felt despair, then I felt fear, and then I felt at peace, and then I felt pity, and then I felt joy, and then I bought her more food.

I wonder who feels lonelier: people in relationships, or people who aren’t in relationships. Imagine if it felt good every time you had an affair. Imagine if, right after your affair, you thought, “Wow I’m definitely going to do this again!” Imagine if it felt good if someone you cared about passed away. If they died slowly, if sickness chipped them away day by day, and you did that thing where you assumed they wouldn’t die, but they did.

I’m rambling because I was trying to get Jude to cry the other day. “Why won’t you cry?” I asked him. “Why would I?” he asked me stubbornly. “You need to let it out once in a while. Or else you’ll regret it. You’ll do something fucked up.” Jude shrugged, and I threw a bottle of beer at him and then apologised. He laughed and drove me home.

I wonder who feels lonelier: me or you?



Book I’m reading: Killing Commendatore

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