Status: Complete.

Letters of the Loneliest


It's past midnight when she stumbles back into her apartment. Her keys tinkle as she drops them into their designated bowl. Leaning on the sofa, she attempts to remove her heel, swaying slightly.

She teeters precariously and before it registers, she's falling. Arms flailing, she manages to snag her bag, but it does little to save her. Instead, she ends up in a heap, contents spilled all over herself and the floor.

Giggling, she starts shoving everything back inside. She stands and places it back onto the table before heading towards her bedroom.

Something catches her eye, making her pause. It's shoved under the end of the couch, a corner barely sticking out. She squats, pulling it out and realizes it's the notebook from the subway.

Interest suddenly piqued, she changes quickly and curls into bed. She turns the television on, but lowers the volume until the voices are barely murmurs.

Tapping long nails on the cover, she debates reading it. It might be a personal journal of his, something he never wanted to get out. It would be rude to read it without permission. Although, he shouldn't have been so careless with it. Then again, everyone loses something on occasion. She's constantly misplacing things herself.

She traces the many band names on the cover, thinking what a talented artist he is. He has a pretty good taste in music, too. Maybe that's what the journal was full of, sketches or lyrics.

Even more curious, she slides her hand under the cover, ready to open it. A flash of guilt has her hesitating once again. Would looking at someone's drawings be the same as reading a diary? They still reflect a person's inner most thoughts.

She bites her lip and lays the notebook on her nightstand, deciding not to invade the man's privacy. Perhaps when she returns it, he'll offer to show her.

Flicking the TV off and then the lamp, she snuggles into her many pillows. The only thing she's allowed herself to splurge on. Bathed in darkness, she begins drifting.

Read it.

Lily's eyes pop open, heart in throat. She bolts upright and turns the lamp back on. All is still and quiet.

Her hands tremble slightly as she clutches the comforter tighter against her chest. The words had been whispered so quietly, but crystal clear. Almost as if she'd thought them herself.

The voice wasn't her own, though. It had been fragile with a soft rasp. A battle worn sound. Suddenly, the old lady from the subway enters her mind. A chill tickles her spine as she realizes the voice had sounded an awful lot like hers. Those pale eyes invade Lily's mind, only increasing the unease.

The notebook still rests where she'd abandoned it moments ago. She eyes it warily, struggling to shake the eerie feeling.

"Oh, grow up," she mutters.

She's acting ridiculous. Probably the numerous drinks from earlier. How could someone else speak to her inside her own head? They can't, that's how.

Fluffing her pillows, she picks up the notebook and nestles in. One quick peek won't hurt, just to ease her mind so she can go to sleep. Six comes early and it's already well after one.

Cracking it open, she's a little disappointed when the page isn't filled with drawings or even lyrics. There's something romantic about the idea of either. Instead, it looks exactly as one would expect a journal to look, date in the corner and everything.

She fans through rapidly, expecting it to be full of entries. It must be a new one however, because there are only a few pages filled.

Satisfied, she begins to shut it, but stops. There's something odd about it. Opening it again, she notices each page is etched by a different handwriting. This has her attention.

Forgetting her original apprehensions, she plunges in, curiosity outweighing propriety.

April 17, 2014

The date makes her do a double take. The journal is over a year old and only a small amount used of it. She shrugs and reads, sure the answers to her many questions lay within.

My name is Rosemary Geneva Oliver. In two month's time, I'll be 93 years young. That is what the young people say these days, is it not?

Writing has always been in my blood. It pulses through me with every beat of this fragile heart. My lungs are only full when I hold pen to paper. It is the one time I feel youthful again, and my loneliness cannot devour me.

Loneliness. What a peculiar word with so many meanings. A word thrown around like love or hate. Such a strong one, that has diminished over time.

Adolescents use it carelessly, when they really mean boredom. Middle age persons say it, when they're looking for a way to jusitfy their affairs. Elders wield it as a sword, when their children and grandchildren have gone too long without visiting.

I, however, am the living, breathing epitome of the word. Long before my parents passed, and long before my husband grew sick with Dementia and left this world.

You could find a child no more backwards than I. Back then, we were not considered bashful or a person needing to be coaxed from their shell. Shyness was a disease that no one bothered trying to cure. I was a leper that even my parents struggled to be proud of.

That is, until I found the words by writing. With a pencil and a scrap piece of paper, I could make even the harshest of hearts weep. Even then though, no one really cared about me, only what I could produce.

My knuckles are gnarled with Arthritis, and because of this, I will write no more beyond this last entry. Perhaps you are wondering the point of this journal? Why would a foolish old woman think anyone would be interested in her dying words?

No, death has not come knocking yet, but it will soon, I pray. And I pray that in my afterlife I'll be surrounded by others with a void yawning as cavernous as mine. That we'll be able to fill one another's voids and no longer will we feel the wounds of loneliness.