Loneliness Exists on a Spectrum

Yellow loneliness is first experienced in the carved flower soaps in every grandmother’s bathroom.  

Yellow loneliness is most commonly found in empty laundromats.  

Yellow loneliness smells like a mixture of linen and the pages of an old library book found under the couch years later, the fee for losing it having only been paid off weeks before.  

Yellow loneliness is in the eyes of the girl you used to sit next to every day on the bus home from kindergarten.  

Yellow loneliness is the loneliness of toy boxes, of squeaky door hinges, of torn sweaters, of the shattered remains of a piggy bank.  

It is the loneliness of being too tall for the monkey bars, of dresses worn only once. It is the loneliness of cleaning your room, deciding what pieces of you are not worth keeping. 

Red loneliness is self-induced, even though it feels like it isn’t.  

Red loneliness feels righteous, like it was bound to happen and you should’ve seen it coming. Red loneliness is the loneliness of blood on the hearth, of knowing that things will never quite be the same.  

Red loneliness can be found anywhere you have cursed a name.  

Red loneliness is painful, it runs through your veins with a burning intensity and leaves an insatiable itch.  

It is the loneliness of half-empty beds, of impromptu plans, of broken picture frames, of nights spent mixing vices, of hating your favorite band, of being unsure if you’ve ever known anything at all. It is the loneliness of staying up late, wishing you had never known anything at all. 

Pink loneliness is usually first noticed during middle school, when Valentine’s Day suddenly means more than half-priced chocolate. 

Pink loneliness looms over tables for two with one seat empty. 

Pink loneliness has a bitter aftertaste, much like the salted dark chocolate you aren’t brave enough to gift to her. 

Pink loneliness is missing every word she says because you’re too busy staring at her lips, so closely that you’re able to notice they are the same shade of pink as the bubblegum she offered to share. 

Pink loneliness blooms in the chest like poison ivy vines on the trunk of the tree you carved your names into as kids. 

It is the loneliness of having so much to say but a mouth sewn shut, of picking petals for reassurance, of missed reservations, of falling fast and far. It is the loneliness of unsent text messages, sitting in your phone with the weight of the world the two of you could have together. 

Green loneliness is unnoticed until it is too late; you have already been replaced. 

Green loneliness is evident to everyone but you because it is so very visible in your eyes when you look at them together. 

Green loneliness feels like a rage overgrown by vines, desperate to trample everything in its wake but it is too tangled. 

Green loneliness smells of ash, of bridges in the process of burning. 

Green loneliness sounds like her laugh, but it is twisted and distorted, and you know it is laughing at you. 

It is the loneliness of one night sleepovers that became weekend stays, of secrets whispered under bedsheets, of being invited to every single birthday party then suddenly none, of spending ten years being asked by strangers how she’s doing. It is the loneliness of watching her walk away with him, and knowing that she never felt what you did. 

Grey loneliness is lethal, and it will steal you if you give it the chance. 

Grey loneliness sounds like the dull thudding of rain, a storm in the distance, and it never gets closer. 

Grey loneliness turns every day into a black and white movie, one where you aren’t the star and you never have been. 

Grey loneliness is hearing muffled voices outside your door and going to open it only to remember you have cinderblock feet. 

Grey loneliness is sitting at the bottom of a lake with no memory of how you got there, or how to get out. 

It is the loneliness of a full voicemail machine, of cold pizza for every meal, of your voice creaking like floorboards from days of disuse, of seeing sunlight but never feeling it. It is the loneliness of drowning in plain sight. 

Purple loneliness is found in the flower arrangements at a funeral. 

Purple loneliness is leaving the vet’s office holding an empty collar.  

Purple loneliness is the unfamiliar silence of returning to a house where a bed was freshly made just that morning but it will never be unmade again. 

Purple loneliness enters through a pinprick of the heart; even though you weren’t the one stabbed, you still felt it. 

Purple loneliness creates a labyrinth in your head where every wall is made of thorns, and every pathway leads to a dead end. 

It is the loneliness of best wishes, of thoughts and prayers, of waking up thinking it was all a nightmare, of considering the merits of religion for the first time. It is the loneliness of rising with the sun, because you know that is what they would have wanted.