The stars, that nature hung in heaven, and filled their lamps with everlasting oil, give due light to the misled and lonely traveller. – John Milton
I am far from home.
At night, after a day of mindless work, I find a small corner in the hotel lobby lounge, and watch other travellers relax.
They are louder than me. They wear their travel well.
I long for home.
They flirt with the girl behind the bar. They ask her when she finishes work. She smiles but does not answer them.
They are trying to make the journey from alone to not alone. That is a journey I cannot make. They are trying to fill their emptiness. My emptiness is unfillable.
I watch them.
They drink. The noise they make drowns out the silence inside them.
They will end up alone tonight, but they will not feel alone. They will go back to a dark room that looks like other rooms they have slept in. They will lie on a bed that thousands of other people have lain on. Sleep will escape them. They will think about the future: the glorious future. They do not think about the past. They will get out of bed and drink strong liquor from a tiny bottle. They will watch infomercials on television. They will see the sun as it rises over the city’s tall buildings and they will not long to see the sunrise over the ocean.
They will shave. They will call their wives and not tell them that they love them.
They will iron a shirt and pack their bags. They will collect their cars and they will travel.
They will travel into the glorious future.
I watch them with envy . I am envious of their ability to put their loneliness in the future. For, while I am like them in many ways, my loneliness is not in the future. I cannot escape my emptiness, no matter how much I travel.