Depression on my left, Loneliness on my right.

*
Depression and Loneliness track me down after ten days I left. I get to thinking a little too much, and then my thinking turns to brooding, and that’s when they catch up with me.

They come upon me all silent and menacing like Pinkerton Detectives, and the flank me—Depression on my left, Loneliness on my right. They don’t need to show me their badges. I know these guys very well. We’ve been playing a cat-and-mouse game for years now. Though I admit that I am surprised to meet here. This is no place they belong.

I say to them, “How did you find me? Who told you I had come to here?”

Depression, always the wise guy, says, “What—you’re not happy to see us?”

“Go away,” I tell him.

Loneliness, the more sensitive cop, says, “I’m sorry. But I might have to tail you the whole time. It’s my assignment.”

“I’d really rather you didn’t,” I tell him, and he shrugs almost apologetically, but only moves closer.

Then they frisk me. They empty my pockets of any joy I had been carrying there. Depression even confiscates my identity; but he always does that. Then Loneliness starts interrogating me, which I dread because it always goes on for hours. He’s polite but relentless, and he always trips me up eventually. He asks if I have any reason to be happy that I know of. He asks why I am all by myself tonight, yet again. He asks (though we’ve been through this line of questioning hundreds of times already) why I can’t keep a relationship going, why I messed things up with every man I’ve ever been with. He asks why I can’t get my act together, and why I’m not at home. He asks where I think I’ll end up in my old age, if I keep living this way.

I walk back home, hoping to shake them, but they keep following me, these two goons. Depression has a firm hand on my shoulder and Loneliness harangues me with his interrogation. I don’t even bother eating dinner; I don’t want them watching me. I don’t want to let them up the stairs to my apartment, either, but I know Depression, and he’s got a billy club, so there’s no stopping him from coming in if he decides that he wants to.

“It’s not fair for you to come here,” I tell Depression. “I paid you off already.”

But he just gives me that dark smile, settles into my favorite chair, puts his feet on my table and lights a cigar, filling the place with his awful smoke. Loneliness watches and sighs, then climbs into my bed and pulls the covers over himself; fully dressed shoes and all. He’s going to make me sleep with him again tonight, I just know it.

Wonderful writing from Eat, Pray, Love a novel by Elizabeth Gilbert (page 46ff). Edited+Cropped

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