Solitude – by John Barber

He had been on his own for some hours now.  She hadn’t turned up, she said she would, no text, no phone call, nothing.  He sat brooding.  What had happened?   Had she changed her mind, had an accident?  Something more important?

He felt bereft.  This had happened only too often.  Promises, promises.  In his job he had always kept appointments, never been late, but today no one seemed to care.  He spent far too much time alone.  It worried him – this solitude.  There was only so much he could do to occupy his mind.  He would get out if he could, go to clubs, try and meet people. Television was banal, he needed the stimulus of conversation.  It had been the same in the hospital, confined to a side room for hours and just a head round the door saying you OK, then disappearing.

What would he do now?  He couldn’t go out, the jigsaw was finished, the TV was rubbish, he had finished his book.  Thank god for the radio, but it didn’t talk back to you when you shouted at it. He needed conversation, he needed interaction. How much more of this solitude could he take?  

The tears came as they often did.  He lay on the bed thinking, listening for the doorbell, hoping, but nothing.  Another hour passed.  The large bottle of paracetamol looking inviting.  It would put a stop to this loneliness, this solitude.  It had become so much worse as he had got older and his hearing deteriorated.  He felt more isolated.  Even nature that seemed to speak to him once was almost too quiet to be heard.  He was alone and he knew he always would be.  He shuddered at the thought, as he did many times each day.   No children, no wife no family.  He felt the world had rejected him.  

Perhaps this would give him the freedom he sought.  He reached for the bottle.  She stood on the doorstep panting perspiring, she was late.  He’d understand.  Her last patient had passed out, she could hardly leave him, could she?  As she entered the house with the pass key he downed the last tablet from the bottle.


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