Life on Planet Mars: The Sound of Silence

There are two people, making out, sitting behind me on the bus. 

I didn’t intend to make myself privy to their existence, but the darkness beyond the glass gives the windows a mirror-like quality and my peripheral vision had other plans for me.

I was first struck with an acute discomfort at this knowledge. I contemplated moving ( the seat in front of me is empty and closer to the door, for a quick escape once we reach our destination).

My second thought (less a thought, more a sensation) was a pang of sorrow directly in the center of my chest. Now, that struck me as odd: why should the current intertwining of mouths between the young adults behind me cause such a negative, gutteral reaction? I don’t know them. They look to be of age and seem capable of making their own decisions. What gives?

This question causes me to analyze my reactions to romantic things in general, within the last few months. Any and all things cutesy, lovey dovey and sealed with a kiss have filled me with the urge to, quite frankly, barf. Sweet nothings make me queasy, as if I’d gotten a whiff of spoiled milk. Happy vacation photos cause me to avert my eyes, as if they were something horrible to behold.

These disturbed reactions are new and foreign to me. Moulin Rouge had been my favorite film since the age of 8. Hallmark commercials of ancient couples, moving hand and hand through life made me shed tears of hopeful expectation. Books of love poems line my bookshelves. There’s a folder of wedding dress photos in my computer files.

Where did that girl go? I don’t recognize this solitary, sad figure when I catch a glimpse of her in the mirror. I’m the most accomplished I’ve ever been in my life: working up to 250 hours a month, completely self sufficient, with no one telling me where to go or what to do without my consent. I live alone. I manage my affairs alone. I make decisions alone.

Alone.

And suddenly there it was, looking me straight in the eye. I’ve felt as though I was alone before but I never really was. I lived with a roommate. I saw family members weekly. Even my car felt like a beloved extension of my immediate family. But, with the recent death of my car ( R.I.P. LemonDrop), the unexpected evacuation of the home I had with my roommate (she chose some inconsiderate dude over me) and the estrangement of my family following the finalization of my parents divorce (things have been awkward and frigid ever since), I’m suddenly faced with a very real isolation that I’ve never before experienced. Work and sleep fill the majority of my time. Domestic chores, hobbies and Netflix fill the remainder, with my awkward schedule and lack of transportation automatically throwing a wrench in any plans I have to spend time with the few friends I have left.

What’s left is a cupid hating, bouquet stomping, romantic gesture loathing hermit who hisses at the sun and cowers at the word “love”.

I cannot say that I like this change I’m seeing in myself. However, we all have chapters in our stories meant to get us where we need to be so the plot might progress. Let’s just hope this filler chapter is a short one.

Fingers crossed.

Mars, signing off. 

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