Different Kinds of Alone

Emma walked into her bedroom and let the door close with a soft click. She slipped off her black sandals and let her bare feet touch the soft, pink carpet that rested on her hardwood floor. Her lips quivered as warm tears streamed down her cheeks. She wiped them away with the back of her hand and ran her fingers through her light brown hair. Twizzler, her little dog with golden fur lay on her bed and wagged his tail when he saw her, letting it thump against the comforter.


She scoffed and half rolled her eyes.
‘What are you so happy about?’ she thought. The bed was made, its blue and gray blanket and sheets folded and smoothed out, nice and neat. She plopped onto the side of the bed and let herself fall face-first into her fluffy pile of pillows.


As her hands buried themselves beneath the pillows, she expected herself to sob. Instead, a few lone tears dripped down to the edge of her nose, soaking into her pillowcase. She felt empty, numb, like her thoughts were nothing more than white noise. Her peach colored blouse was bunched up beneath her stomach and one leg of her blue jeans was yanked up higher than the other, but she didn’t care enough to fix it.


Her breathing began to slow and she clung to her pillow. She imagined lying here forever and never having to leave this spot. Her smart phone was in her back pocket, so she pulled it out and lay on her side, smoothing out her clothes. She opened the text conversation she’d been having with Jack and sniffled.


“Hey. Wanna hang out later? Think I might order a pizza,” she typed. She hit send. A tissue box rested on her dark, wooden nightstand next to her television remote and a small stack of books. She blew her nose and a few loose strands of hair had started sticking to her lip balm. Tucking them behind her ears, she took a few slow breathes. Her window was covered by a pink curtain, but a hint of sunlight could be seen shining through it.


A few moments later, her phone vibrated. It was a text message.
“I’d love to, Em. But I can’t, I have plans with my girlfriend. Enjoy the pizza though!” Jack said.


A pang of disappointment hit Emma in the pit of her stomach. Tears began to stream down her face again and she let out a half sob. Twizzler walked over and started licking her elbow. She turned around and nudged him away.


“Leave me alone,” she said. The dog looked back at her and wagged his tail again, slower this time. His little paws barely made an indent in the soft blanket. She lay down on her back and stared at her white ceiling. She was happy for Jack. But she also didn’t want to think about his perfect relationship with his perfect girlfriend. Ordering pizza on her own felt so pathetic in comparison.

Her dog sniffed at her shoulder and placed a paw on her arm. She pet the fur behind his ears and folded her free arm so she could rest her head against it.

“No one’s there for me, Twizzler. Not in the way I want them to be,” she said. She grabbed a thin, green blanket from the edge of her bed and pulled it up to her shoulders. She closed her eyes and imagined staying like that forever. Just like that, warm and safe. She had work to do and emails to send and needed to eat something. But for now, all she wanted was this. Peace, quiet, and the kind of alone that had nothing to do with being lonely.


#Fiction, short stories


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