I like a look of Agony,
because I know it's true.




No one ever thinks they'll be alone, until they actually are.

People think it should be filled with a soft-coloured sombre, a heavy pall of settled-silence because being alone must mean loneliness because they've never known any different.

But they're wrong.

I had grown up with noise, though not a surplus of it, until time started to pass and the noises – and people – gradually started to dissipate. They floated off like wisps of smoke, were gases suddenly deprived of their oxygen and so they just vanished.

At the time I couldn't tell – couldn't tell whether I was just shutting my ears to the vibrations until they became indistinct muffles or if, maybe, they just left all on their own. It could have been a mixture of both. Like a silent error of continuity: they cause each other but they have no original causes themselves.

I could have pin-pointed the origin to my mother's death. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary, strange or mysterious. It was a car crash, and it was nobody's fault but her own. So if I had to blame someone it would have been her, and I couldn't blame her. Neither could Charlie. On the night of her death he'd just stood in the rain – it poured that night, I remember – and I think it was so I wouldn't have seen him crying.

She had been pregnant.

Anyway, the point is I could have named this as the origin source, but I didn't. I was 15 when she had died, but I had been drifting away before that. But I do think that it made me silent, thought I couldn't – wouldn't – ever say she made me alone.

I'd like to think Charlie was alone too, but I don't know. He had lived a whole life with Renee – they had known each other since they were 17 – had always expected her to be there, couldn't fathom what it would be like when she was gone. When the house was so quiet because there wasn't any music to sing to and the oven accumulated dust because nobody baked anymore and the garden was overgrown and an all-over mess because no one cared enough to plant flowers.

So I don't know. But I think his too-much love for her may have shattered him. And now maybe he is lonely instead of just alone.

I'm sorry. I wish I could make it better. Tell me what to do.

Things I want to say to him but are only ever fragmented thoughts in my head. Because I am not her, and we just don't speak anymore.

But we are fine, like most people. We carry on, like most people. And like most people sometimes are, we are alone.