This month’s long version winner is Stuck in the Past! This story had the most views of any story EVER in Precisely 25 history! Thank you so much for reading and sharing my stories. Don’t forget to keep liking your favorites to see them made into a long version.
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Loneliness was never something I understood. Being embraced by silence is the greatest comfort. It’s weightless. Time almost forgets you. Who could feel melancholy at such freedom?
People’s misery always had a way of clinging to me, like marshmallow s’mores that cement to your cheeks. So over the years, I excised myself from all but the necessary relationships. My physical therapy patients, my assistant, and grocery cashiers were all I spoke to.
The only thing I had that you could call a relationship were with my newspaper subscriptions. I had ten different journals delivered daily, and two extra editions on Sundays. Those papers forced me to remember life required participation. I couldn’t stay in my quiet shroud day after day. Every morning I woke up two hours earlier than I had to so I could read them all. Last week in the obituaries, I saw the boy who’d gotten me pregnant at seventeen. Suicide. I wondered if guilt weighed on him all these years too.
I decided to go to his wake, the first social event I’d been to in years. I stood in the back listening to the priest, his mother, and a coworker. Then a young girl got up and started talking about her daddy. He’d been suffocated by loneliness, allowed himself to get drawn back into the despair of loving. After the funeral, I went home and cried myself to sleep for the first, and only, time. The next morning, I woke up and read my papers.