“Constant Companion”

Best-I-canAs I slowly wake from my sleep, a low rumble alerts my senses. The rumbling gains momentum as it nears, consumes all other sounds, and then passes into silence. Again and again, it comes and then fades away. With each oncoming sound a flash of light brings my eyes flickering open creating an almost instant awareness. Only then do I remember where I am. How close to home has this eastbound bus taken me?

I strain to find something familiar in the darkness outside the cloudy window, I become aware of each car that passes by, with the rumbling growl and bright lights that had awakened me.  Suddenly realization crosses through my sleep fogged mind; to the drivers of the passing vehicles, I do not exist. My only presence in their reality is the bus I ride, howling past them in the opposite direction. Without their knowledge of me, I’m nothing more than a nameless, faceless rider. However, to me, the same is true for the world I’m hurling past outside the bus.

I pull up the sleeve on my jacket, wipe the moisture from the window, and peer out into the darkness. As the world passes by, each house I whirl past has life going on inside, lives I know nothing about. In an attempt to bring these lives into existence for me, I start mentally writing my own stories about what is happening under their roofs.  In the darkened trailer, the children are finally asleep in their beds as their parents, cuddling together on the couch, watch television. The small house on the corner has a woman crying at the table, wondering where her husband is at this hour. Her fingers run through her hair as she stares at the phone on the table in front of her, begging it to ring with some news. In my story, the phone never rings. Finally, the house with the over-grown lawn and absence of any light shining from it has had many stories created about it over the years by the local youth. Some say this dark looming house is haunted while others talk about an old man still living inside, waiting to chase off anyone who comes around. The reality of the house is different for me. The house is being used by local drug users and prostitutes as a safe haven. The stories go on and on with the passing of each town, but to me, the stories are fleeting, existing only until the next one is created. How many lives go on without anyone knowing of their existence?

Without a clear idea how much further I have left until I reach my destination, I look up and count the remaining passengers accompanying me on my journey. The bus is another representation of my life with people getting on and off not really knowing who I am; so many people passing through without taking the time to understand each other. Some of the people may stay longer than others, sharing the journey, but in the end, everyone gets off the bus. The desire to reach out to another person and connect seems to be a lost art. What would it take to authentically care about another person? Most people are happy in their ignorance of others, satisfied their world is as small and as dark as the interior of the bus we are sharing.

As these thoughts pass through my head, a feeling of loneliness washes over me. Loneliness is my constant companion. He is someone who shares my daily life, though I never hear a word of encouragement or question coming from him. He is just a passenger, always by my side along for the ride. We are seemingly all riding with our own version of Loneliness because we are unable or unwilling to open ourselves to the world around us. We are happy in our ignorance, to have Loneliness beside us through all of our journeys. While he is the one passenger that I would like to see get off my bus, I find that he remains my constant companion always in the seat next to me.

I settle back into my seat, move my backpack up to make a pillow, then I turn to my ever present partner and silently ask him to wake me before my stop. With this final thought, I drift off to sleep listening to the growling rise and fall from the passing cars and wondering if Loneliness is riding with them too.

Until next time…


© 1994 & 2013

[Author’s Note: This story started in 1994 and has been lost in the notebooks of my journals for almost twenty years. Recently, I went on a hunt to find my old writing and was pleasantly surprised it survived the many moves and storage. This piece is a work of fiction that has been in the back of my mind for many years. I am glad that it has finally been completed. I hope you enjoyed a little piece of me. Thank you for your time…jb]

8 Comments on “Constant Companion”

  1. You have such great emotions in this piece. The author’s note was very interesting background. I for one am very glad you dusted this one off and shared it.

    • The piece was an emotional piece and I am glad it was able to be conveyed in the finished story. I too am glad it was found. I had been wanting to locate the story since TTMM was started.I appreciate your visit.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I believe many people are lonely though most never acknowledge it. For me, I can be in a room full of others and still feel alone. I love how easily you convey emotion. Can’t wait to read more.

    • Thank you for reading. I completely understand the feeling of being in a room full of people and feeling alone. I believe that happens more than realized. Please come back for more this month.

  3. Great post, Jerry! To personify loneliness is a bold move, yet brilliant also. I think you captured the spirit of the meaning and you did a wonderful job conveying that slow wafting, ever-present feeling. Perfect!

    • Jack,
      Thank you for your comments. The story has been around for years and just didn’t feel complete until recently. It is one of my favorite pieces I have written thus far. I am glad that it conveyed the meaning intended. Your comment means a lot to me.

  4. Great story Jerry! I believe on this digital age of personal music devices, loneliness is now whispering in your hears creating a nice and safe cocoon around you. This is why, I believe, that is so difficult to reach out to anybody these days.

    • Alex,
      I hadn’t thought about the isolation that we all do with walking around, ear plugs firmly planted in our ears as we shut the world away. Great point. Thank you for visiting today.

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