Life · love

please don’t call me when you’re lonely.

The water feels perfect this time of year. There’s hardly anyone at the beach, and you know that’s the way I like it.

Why is it that for some of us, it feels like therapy getting tossed around by waves, yet when we’re tossed around by humans in curiously mountain-shaped cities, it takes us weeks upon years to recover?

Why is it that some of us would rather travel alone than have to explain to others how we feel inside when real-life things happen and we go on living anyway? How we feel in the still, silent aftermath of the storm, when we thought you might, but then you didn’t, call? How the feelings continue to come and go like waves, yet some settle longer than others, a froth of messy bubbles over dirty sand.

Please don’t call me when you’re lonely. Please don’t use me as yet another distraction, a drug to numb the pain. You say you feel better when you’re with me, and I with you, and at the end of the day, we all need rejuvenation, but sometimes that word means different things to different people.

I deserve more. I deserve someone who feels as happy as I do in a solo dance among the waves, free of company barring a crew of seagulls, with one of whom I play an enchanting game of I see you, bird between wave and bag and back again. Food’s all gone, and you can’t have my words. Birds are smarter than they look, you know. They used to say that about me.

So you know that dream, the one you’ve been telling me about for years? Please fly away and go do it already. Because nobody else will ask you to, and the only person waiting is yourself.

And when you do it, I hope it shakes and stirs you like the balloon I rescued from the ocean today, on a journey of questionable length, time, and distance, but still holding air.

When you make it back to shore, I can’t tell you I’ll still be around, but I promise I’ll always listen.

Most of all, I hope the dream unmasks you. Down to the bone. Because I woke up one day and realized that we’re only friends when you’re homesick, and in the moment I didn’t think I’d make it, I was gasping for air while grasping hands with a ghost.

Thank you for unknowingly creating this moment, because in it you shone a light on the one thing I needed most to know — that I can write whatever the f*ck I want to. Even the curse words that make me cringe, in their raw staleness of sheer too-much-feeling.

We’re taught how to be happy on the exterior, but we aren’t taught what to do with our anger. We aren’t taught how to channel it into a wave-ridden dance or the safe space of words. We’re taught to suppress it deep in a lockbox hidden within our chest before we throw the key out to sea. For which I’ve been swimming for centuries, uncertain I’ll ever find it.

Regardless, my alien story has value, as do my hopes and my dreams. So, for you, I hope that you find what you’re looking for. And for me, I dream of something more. Because I deserve someone who does not merely tolerate my rawness, but loves it.

Someone who holds his palm outstretched with the hopes of carrying my dripping heart. Who understands anger without need for words. Who understands how the anger dissipates from the tops of the waves, and that the more time I spend alone with the ocean, the closer I get to perhaps recovering the key to the locked box inside my heart.

I deserve someone who wants to walk alongside my wave-shattered body, together in our mutually respective aloneness.

The space you gave me, all those years ago, when you didn’t call, wasn’t out of love or respect or even friendship; it was for yourself. I do believe love is created from space and deep breaths of air, but I’m discovering the difference between air I want to breathe and that which my lungs can do without.

It may have something to do with mountain-shaped cities, and beaches without humans and with only the underrated intelligence of birds.

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This piece was published on Rebelle Society.

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