By Jessie Close
I have a movie friend. That’s all we ever do, go to movies together. Sometimes, when we have many things to talk about, we’ll go to dinner instead. But rarely. We always have popcorn and always direct the snack guy to fill the tub up half way so we can butter the middle. Then comes more popcorn and more butter. We usually only go to movies about once per month or less which is lucky since that amount of popcorn can twist a gut severely. Actually, come to think of it, we were popcorn-less during the last two movies… Maybe we’re growing up? What a terrible thought!
I have email friends and other friends who are there for comfort in difficult situations. I have friends who never let me down, who help me celebrate a birthday or a milestone. I have a friend who always makes me laugh and understands what I have to say almost more than I do. I have a friend who is usually as busy as I so we keep our conversations short without hurt feelings. There are certain people who, when I see their names pop up on my cell phone screen, I ignore for lack of time – I know the conversation will be long. It’s a shame because I would talk to these long-winded friends if they could control their long-windedness. I call them back when I have the time for a long conversation.
So why do I ever feel lonely? I don’t much but it does hit once in a while, usually late at night when friends wouldn’t be around anyway. I think there must be more to loneliness than meets the eye.
Some of the words describing ‘lonely’ are: isolated, alone, lonesome, friendless. I wonder, talking about myself now, if I feel lonely at times because I live alone. No, I don’t think so. I felt more lonely in unhappy marriages than I ever feel now. So perhaps I’m trying to describe melancholy? Gloomy, forlorn, despondent, dejected. Loneliness and melancholy don’t share the same definition. Interesting. Digging even deeper I can say, with conviction, that the feeling I feel sometimes late at night isn’t loneliness but is melancholy. Loneliness seems to happen when others aren’t around or nearby, but I don’t mind that. Melancholy happens inside my own head.
I used to love staying up all night. Mania was my secret operating system. I am less occupied at night now because I go to bed and actually sleep, but there is a window between being awake and falling asleep. Melancholy will join me when I get caught in that window.
Sometimes the full moon keeps me awake; I’ll look out the window to check and yup, there it is! I am a water sign, Cancer, and my children came on the full moon so it plays an important role in my life. I rarely feel melancholy when I see the full moon. The moon seems magical to me, the blue light lights up the hills and the moon is even reflected in the creek that runs past my house.
So it’s dark nights and cold nights that trap me in that window of melancholy. I can’t sleep because I keep wondering about tomorrow. And then other thoughts creep into my brain and then I’m awake with melancholy. The tried and true remedy is to turn on the light and read. Reading pushes melancholy out of my brain and allows me to calm myself.
So, lonely isn’t something I have to deal with. It’s melancholy that gets in the way. And it’s melancholy that keeps me awake at times. I have really wonderful friends and for that I am so grateful. Now, I wish there was a movie I’d like to go see so I can have some of that theatre popcorn!