Fear and experience

My friends say: ‘Jess, you know that film, He’s Just Not That Into You?’

My friends say: ‘You can do better.’

My friends say: ‘What a bastard.’

But they don’t love you.

They don’t know that reason you were with me was for fear of being alone.

They just think you’re mean.

But they don’t know

how lonely you were

in your fear of being alone.


But neither do you know

what it’s really like

to be alone.

19 years old in a foreign country

having no one

but a dream in your heart.

You don’t know what it means to be lonely

and the only way to control it

is to not eat

and not spend

and the only person to take you out

is yourself.


You think I’m spoilt because I live with my parents.

That’s the only way you’ve known me.

But when you live with your parents because it’s your only choice,

you are not spoilt.

You don’t know the road that led me here.

You don’t know what it’s like to be hungry,

to eat out of a bin at work,

hiding from colleagues you don’t like,

with your worried mum

hundreds of miles away

and the only company you keep

is your own.


You fear it

are fascinated by it

like the lonely whale

transmitting on the wrong frequency.

So you were with me

to avoid it

with no words of comfort

of relief

of compliment

or praise.

I was just a way to avoid

the loneliness.


Whereas you were everything I wanted to be.

You were the dream

and the way out of it.

The loneliness.

But there is nothing I can do

or say

or write

that will make you see me

that will make you want me

that will give you the words

‘I have someone there

in Jess

to rely on

in the inevitable days of death and solitude.’

You try and own it

but you fear it

with no experience of it

other than the fear of it.

The loneliness.


There’s nothing I can do

or say

or write

will make you understand

what real loneliness is like

and what it means

to have someone dispel it

even if just for a while

even if never for real.


Your deepest fear

is my truest reality.

We were each other’s way

of keeping it away.

You out of inexperienced fear

and me from experienced reality.

That’s what made us uneven

but maybe our most equal.

Our deepest fear,

is what we must always face

and carry

whoever we are with

whoever we’re without.

It is inside us both.

The loneliness.





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