I almost didn’t write this. Every time I typed a sentence, I felt like I’d written something incredibly stupid. Then, I’d hit backspace and mumble words not fit for network television.
But, I’ve typed this far, I might as well keep going.
See, I think about you sometimes. It’s not deep thought, mind you. After all, I’ve never met you. But for all I know you are just like me.
Namely, I wonder if you ever feel alone. I wonder if you think you’re drifting through this world by yourself. I know what this feeling is like.
When I was a teenager, we once lived in a twenty-six-foot trailer, right after my father passed. I wondered if anyone would ever take care of us again. When you lose someone, you think about things like that.
At the trailer park, there was an elderly couple named Tom and Norma. Tom smoked three packs per day, and did maintenance work on trailers in the park.
One day, I helped him repair a hot water heater. He had a cigarette hanging from his lips.
Tom said, “You know, you ain’t the only one.”
“Huh?” I said.
“You ain’t alone.”
“What do you mean?”
“My daddy died when I’s your age. And so did lots of people’s daddies. You ain’t alone.”
I’ve never forgotten that.
Some people are obsessed with happiness. They want to feel so giddy that their toenails fall off and their cheek muscles pop. That’s fine, I guess. But happiness doesn’t last long. It never does.
One moment it’s here; the next, it’s heading back to wherever it came from.
But being UN-alone, now that’s something better than happiness. A fella could get used to feeling like that.
I hope you feel that way. I hope you figure out how UN-alone you are.
Like the woman I met today. She’s a waitress. Times have been hard for her. Bone hard. Bills don’t exactly pay themselves, and single mothers are easy targets. She’s been riding a bike to work.
She thought she was alone. She thought she was invisible.
She got a new car this week. It’s a long story, but the smile on her face was so big it made her eyes pink.
“I’m so alive again,” she said.
Alive. And so are you. Or, at least, I hope you’re about to be.
But then, I’m just one little voice stuck in internet oblivion. I can’t do anything. I tell stories. I make pathetic jokes. I write words. I’m nothing but a few insignificant letters on a screen.
But if I could use sentences to make you feel something, I would. I would use my silly, one-syllable words to weave a big quilt that I could wrap around you when you feel that nobody likes you.
I would string together phrases and make them into something that helps you realize how important you are.
Anyway, I’m sort of feeling nostalgic, I guess. I’m going to visit my father’s grave. I’m on my way, riding across the United States to do it. I haven’t visited since we laid him to rest a hundred thousand years ago. I’ve been building up to this for a long time.
I wonder about him a lot. I wonder if he can see the life I’ve lived. The career I accidentally found. I wonder if he knows how alone I felt that one day, fixing a water heater with old Tom.
I don’t know much about life—I know next to nothing. But at this exact moment, I have the tiniest bit of hope. I don’t know HOW I got it, and I don’t know how long it will last.
It could be gone in a few minutes, so I’d better hurry before it goes anywhere. I want to use it all up on you. Every last drop.
So I hope you find whatever it is you’re looking for. I hope you have a few loyal friends. I hope that while reading this, you feel warm for a few minutes.
Maybe then, you’ll know that somebody you’ve never met is thinking of you right now. And that means you’re not alone.
I love you.