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I have lived this life, give or take, for the last three years, and while I've always been merely tolerant of it, and therefore have done little to change it, I'm gradually been worn out by it. Worn out from trying to hold myself together on my own, with my own two hands, my own arms at night, my own wits. It is the longing to not be alone that clings to the back of my throat, hissing to me like a leaky tire as I drive to and fro, hither and yon, through the obstacle course that has become my life.

It borders on desperation, and everyone knows that there is no better turn off than needfulness. So I bottle it up, re-direct it, suppress it, even embracing it out of helplessness. I am not a weak woman, and few who know me would say so, but I am lonely, and I suppose that isn't too scary of an admission, when there are even scarier ones that lurk behind it, or could, if I let them.

We all need people, no matter how irritating or unpredictable they are. We may even crave the very things about people that annoy us the most, simply because they lend some variety to life, stir things up that otherwise coagulate at the bottom of fridge and prove useless to just about anyone who goes in there looking for food.

I review the last three years, how far I've come, all the mini adventures and spurts of growth that have graced my apartment door, and I know that I have accomplished certain things. But I have yet to feel as though I was anything but alone, on my own, pitted against the world with so few and far away allies that they could only be called in as a last resort. They are not where I am. They can't break down my door. I am not sure of what the initial step is that could lead me up out of it, and I wonder if I've simply gone on too long alone so that I cannot be rehabilitated into community, like a child left in the woods on her own too long so that she cannot create words with her mouth, she cannot hold a spoon or tolerate shoes. She screeches at helium balloons, terrified.

I can't quit, not now, not when I may have a lead on something like a more fulfilling life. I only hope (and hope is sometimes all I have, and how can it be had, really?) that I can be patient enough for it when it comes to fruition. Will I run haphazard, afraid to turn back, not thinking enough to pack, or plan ahead, or see the future as anything less than an extension of the present? Will I be given that chance?

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