That's the strangest thing about this life, about being in the ministry. People change the subject when they see you coming. And then sometimes those very same people come into your study and tell you the most remarkable things. There's a lot under the surface of life, everyone knows that. A lot of malice and dread and guilt, and so much loneliness, where you wouldn't really expect to find it, either.
I've chosen a life that's so different from everybody else's that it cuts me off from them. Practically everybody I know treats me like a guest celebrity. Of course it's my own fault. I feel so damn alone sometimes, I feel like I could just float away into the stratosphere and everybody would stand there looking up at me and not one would haul me back down to earth. No ropes.
Like you're riding a train at night across some vast plain, and youcatch a glimpse of a tiny light in a window of a farmhouse. In aninstant it's sucked back into the darkness behind and vanishes. Butif you close your eyes, that point of light stays with you, justbarely for a few moments.
In the weeks that followed, we amazed ourselves. Our habits slid apart easily...And our very few intimacies were simply discontinued. Where did they go, those things we did? Were they recycled? Did some new couple in China do them? Were a Swedish man and woman foot to foot at this very moment?
There were the endless birthday nights and New Year's Eves of just you in your bed and no one else. There was the welling up at weddings, the glittery eye-prick, when all the couples would get up to dance. Sometimes it felt like your heart was crazed with cracks like your grandmother's old saucers. Sometimes the sight of a Saturday afternoon couple laughing in a park would splinter it completely.
I think it takes an amazing amount of energy to convince oneself that the Forever Person isn't just around the corner. In the end I believe we never do convince ourselves. I know that I found it increasingly hard to maintain the pose of emotional self-sufficiency lying on my bed and sitting at my desk, watching the gulls cartwheeling in the clouds over the bridges, cradling myself in my own arms, breathing warm chocolate-and-vodka breath on a rose I had found on a street corner, trying to force it to bloom.
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.