I’m reading an article on my computer, in my lap sits Puck, the cat I live with (I can hardly call him mine, any more than I am his; he’s a tenant, and yet to make a rent payment).
I’m petting him, he’s enjoying it immensely. He purrs, and leans into my hand and arm. A simple measure for me, for him, the oasis at the end of a long day without contact.
It’s a nice thing that we’re having, and yet without warning, suddenly, immediately, ambush, I feel alone. A chance neuron fires, a connection is made, and instantly, I experience that terrible moment of perspective, a zooming out from my position, back into the recesses of my head. I’m alone, in a room, a tiny room, in this city, in this country, in this world. I feel lonely, stereotypically, pathetically.
I look towards the window, towards the evening, and the moment worsens, more perspective floods in. Through the sheer curtains, tiny dotted lights, surrounded by dark. I’m one of many, and even uniqueness, the last bastion of personal safety, crumbles. I’m alone. I might die here and no-one would notice. It’s terrifically self-indulging, but it’s here and it’s real and I get a tugging sensation on my body, pulling me down from the shoulders and twisting deep into the abdomen, to curl up and lie down and not get up.
It’s the Solitude. The Alone. The Whatever the Fuck I’m Calling It Right Now.
Moments of pause.
Puck is watching me. I’ve stopped petting him. And what does he matter anyway? Why do I even care? I’m one of a dozen suitable owners, of many patrons that would be happy to call him a companion. Part of me wants to hold him closer, the other wants to push him away. How dare you make me chance at friendship with you. Won’t you let me sit in squalor? Won’t you leave anyway, via death or departure?
He’s still staring at me. I pet him, grudgingly. He’s interrupted my self-destruction. He goes back to his mild writhing, pleasure, I’m assuming.
Yet, I realize, it’s not loathing I have towards him, it’s envy. A cats ego is the size of the universe, so large it’s irrelevant. He can live perfectly in the moment. Moments are pleasure and pain and longing, but it’s all there, in the second, in the present. I want that, badly, that abandon to the past or what’s to come. Just the feeling and the wanting and the having that the present wantonly provides. Not this long view, through the tight scope of a rifle, to a future I don’t understand or want.
I realize I have to write this down. I did, it’s here, you’re reading it. As soon as I put him down, he looks up, and begins to meow. It makes me smile, wryly, bitterly because a light has turned on: my perspective, gleaned from living the younger years, from seeing beyond this hilltop to the next, means I know more pettin’s will come. But he doesn’t. I know that’s important somehow.
But right now, I’m sad and lonely and upset and small and that’s all that matters.
At the moment, of course.