Isolation and the Social Voyager

The house that was meant to be my home became the space I lived in. Over a short period of time, it seemed to me, I had met people, made friends, been loved and loved others in return, although not in equal measure, and through accident, carelessness and weakness of character, I had lost it all again. So I found myself, in my mid-twenties, entirely alone and without support or reference points. The phone did not ring, and no one cared if I lived or died. It was a strange place to be for one so young. My food was delivered by van so there was no reason to leave the house, apart from my visits to the cinema which was my one escape. Watching lives moulding together on the screen filled me with a painful inexpressible emotion as I saw what others had and I did not. I watched people sitting near me, and sharing snacks and sometimes leaning in and kissing each other, or chiding children to be quiet. I saw them involved in the normalcies of life from which I was excluded.

I am a natural fitter- in, chameleon, a member of the crowd, but now I had no need to mingle any more. I could do what I liked and I would always eat but I had no function or need to interact apart from socially, and I had destroyed all that. I had grown up largely free of ambition or specific dreams: I did not wish to be a surgeon, or an architect or anything else you can imagine. I just wanted to be normal and loved, and yet I found myself as far from that place as a man can be. I did the basic cleaning in those rooms I inhabited, but largely I allowed the house to look after itself and, I noticed over time, that if I went for a walk along the landing, or peeked into rooms I had to enter, I would see a thickening carpet of dust settling over every surface. I wondered how, with all the windows closed, such volumes of dust could find their way to all this furniture. I filled my day with such idle thoughts, the answers to which I never found, and never cared enough to investigate. I drifted into stagnation, a depression if you like, when I had everything a man could want apart from interests, recognition and the love of others.

In case you are worried, this is a piece of fiction.


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
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28 Responses to Isolation and the Social Voyager

  1. Jane Thorne says:

    Phew….you had me worried there for a minute. 🙂


  2. ksbeth says:

    intensely sad, like listening to the old wallpaper in a house speaking out loud.


  3. smithbianca says:

    Sad, but beautiful really.


  4. gwpj says:

    Beautifully and convincingly said, Peter. Stands by itself as a flash fiction story, or as the seed of a much longer work.


  5. Do we live or do we just survive? A question for any life. A sketch of life around us.


  6. Scarlet says:

    Who was delivering the food? I am curious now. I demand part II.


  7. Ina says:

    Intruiging! This story starts sad but I have a hunch things will change for this personage…


  8. Caroline says:

    I await developments………


  9. renxkyoko says:

    Just a piece of fiction…. * sigh of relief*


  10. I was wondering whether it was true or not. Strangely enough, my early to mid 20s were a somewhat isolated time for me since I was not a mother or married yet but had moved out of my house, and though I had many acquaintances, few of them were actually friends.


    • I think its easier to drift into social isolation than people realise. It can develop slowly, and is hard to escape from once the shyness grabs you


      • That is true! I just think that it was not such a strange thing to be isolated at this age, because for many it is an age when we separate from our families and don’t yet have families of our own. Of course the case your story describes is extreme, making it all the more touching.


  11. gotham girl says:

    As usual…you lured us in yet again!! Sad, but I also find it very true. I think we’ve all been there at some point in our life?


  12. But, how does he pay his bills? A trust fund? If he was happy this way, I’d say it’s not so bad. He doesn’t sound pleased, though.


  13. This piece made me think of floating an an ice floe or a raft on an ocean. There’s a great sense of isolation and helplessness in it. I’m glad it’s part of a longer story. Hope the raft ends up somewhere.


  14. Chirri says:

    Fish and chips every day – milk cartons – and the Consultant said ….


  15. A lovely piece of flash fiction. Sometimes there is a beauty in sadness and think you hit it with your words.


  16. I think that many of us are not too far from finding ourselves in a situation like this. A fragmented society, filled with competetive pressure, where work becomes the hub of people’s lives, can quickly lead to emotional isolation. Without, I presume, the need(or drive) to work, your character has clearly slipped with ease into this life. Excellently written, Peter,


  17. Sounds like the beginning of a great novel to me! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I knew very well that this was fiction
    because you are quite the social dude, Peter. 🙂 xxx


  19. Al says:

    I suspected it was from your forthcoming novel, for if you are at all like that you are in serious doo-doo when you become a famous author. As you have already experienced, the social scene will begin to envelop you as your literary fame spreads. Time to “man up” and smell the cocktail parties.


  20. Radhika says:

    Really felt for that poor man! You’ve expressed him with wonderful vulnerability!


  21. Raven Whyte says:

    Sadly, I have seen this happen with people. Like they try so hard to create a Good Life, but in the creation they lose something that matters even more.


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