I always sit on the bench that sits on the back deck. It always makes me feel nice and the soft air makes me happy. The birds always make me feel less lonely. The empty halls of a mansion don’t make me feel any happier than I thought they would. Ever since I won the lottery, bills have disappeared but new problems have risen. I’m lonely all the time. Depression sets in at 8 A.M..
I don’t feel like I can trust anyone. My friends only ever talk to me now if they need money, my cousins have said that I’ve changed too much. My parents moved to another country with the money I gave them so I don’t really think they want to be around me. I try to call them once a week. They don’t ever really pick up. Mom does sometimes, but the call only lasts about 5 minutes with the “how are you”s and the “what’s the weather like”s. I don’t think I’ll keep trying to talk to them.
I go into work a few hours a day. It’s something to do, nonetheless. I work as a child therapist. It helps me feel a little happier to see a child play, but sometimes it does make me sadder when they tell me the things in their lives. But at least it doesn’t cause the depression to feel worse.
I sigh and stare at my own, old hands. “I can’t even look at these anymore without remembering I don’t have one to hold.”
I hear the phone ring and I shake my head. “Probably no one important, but it’s better than not talking to someone.” I pick up the receiver and place it to my ear. “This is Louise Patrick. How may I help you?”
“Louise! It’s Henna!”
“Oh. Hey. What’s up?” I hold in a sigh. Henna is my next door neighbor. She’s been trying to get closer to me. I don’t know why. We have nothing in common.
“Nothin’, nothin’. I was wondering if you’d want to join me at the singles bar tonight. I really don’t wanna go alone, but I’ve been so lonely since Rob left. I just-”
“Henna, I don’t know. I’m not really into the whole ‘dating’ scene. I never really have been. I don’t think I’d really be much fun.”
“Oh, Louise! Come on! Please? Just as moral support? Please?” I can hear the desperation in her voice.
I groan and rub my forehead, “Fine, Henna. What time?”
“Around 7 P.M..”
“Alright. I’ll meet you there if you text me the details.”
We say goodbye and I hang up. I sigh and sit down on my kitchen counter. I lay my head back and close my eyes. I really don’t wanna go but now, I have to. I gently bang my head back and groan again. I open my eyes and look at the clock. It says 5:48 P.M.. I sigh and slide off the counter.
“It’s time to start getting ready, I guess.” I sigh and go into the bathroom. I get in the shower then hop back out.
I walk into my bedroom and look in the mirror. The wrinkles in my face show more and I shake my head. I walk back to my closet and pick out a pair of skinny jeans with ripped knees. I grab a hoodie that’s about 4 sizes too big. I look at my clock and it says 6:15 P.M.. I quickly put my wet hair up into a ponytail. I sigh once again in a severe lack of wanting to go.
I get into my car and turn on the first radio station with music that I can stand. Music isn’t very enjoyable for me these days because the voices just remind me how lonely I am. After a few minutes, I have to turn it off. I finally arrive at the place and walk in. I’m almost instantly greeted by Henna.
Her makeup is overly done. It looks like someone has given her a botched plastic surgery. Her outfit is way too short in both directions and makes me uncomfortable to see because she’s about 30 years older than me. I smile awkwardly at her. You would think a woman who was left not even a week ago by her husband wouldn’t be acting like she just turned 21.
“Louise!” Her voice is slurred and I can already smell the alcohol on her breath.
“Hey, Henna.” I try to make my being uncomfortable as apparent as possible but she seems to dismiss it almost immediately.
“It’s so fuuuuun.” She begins to almost yell.
I nod, “Yeah, okay.” I walk to the bar and order a bottled water.
As I stand and cling to the bottle, I watch the people around me. I have no idea how, but I suddenly feel even more lonely. The place is almost full but I can’t feel any better. I look to my side and see a man next to me. He has a smirk that makes my skin crawl. I look to his hand and see a ring on his finger. My skin crawls again.
He walks closer to me and says, “Hey, pretty thing. How could you wanna cover up?”
I raise my eyebrow in disgust and smile condescendingly. I lean in and say, “How could you not wanna cover up the fact you aren’t single in a singles bar?” I move my eyes to his ring.
He quickly covers up his hand and blubbers on about it. I roll my eyes and pat his arm, “Good luck either fixing your marriage or finding a woman that’s willing to look over your shortcomings for an hour. Or, more so five minutes.”
I walk away from him and out of the bar. I go to the corner and sit on the bench. The sun hasn’t fully set. I shake my head and put my face in my hands. “Why did I want to be around people again?” I think. I lift my head when I hear a small noise. I open my eyes and look around. I still hear it but I don’t see anything. I lift a few cans and move some flowers when I see a kitten. She can’t be more than a few months old. I pick her up and hold her close to my chest.
“Hi, baby. What’re you doing out here?” She feels almost like nothing. I put her in my hoodie and hold her closer to me. She seems to cling to me and I nuzzle my face on hers.
I get into my car and we drive to the pet store. I get flea and regular shampoo, cat food, and a few other things for her. She clings to me the entire time and licks my face occasionally. She doesn’t have front claws, so I think she was owned once. I look at the lost posters and don’t see a picture of her.
I put up a picture of her and wait a few weeks. No one claims her, so I keep her. After a few months, I end up with a few more stray cats and turn my house into a sanctuary for them. People sometimes come in and will adopt. I always make sure they’ll never be alone. I know that I will never be again. Thanks to one little noise that I heard on a bad night.