I missed the early train by about thirty seconds this morning. It was so early the ticket office, which provides a modicum of shelter, was closed so I cut a sorry sight on the platform. The wind picked up, the temperature dropped and wicked blasts of snow cut across me as I faced an interminable twenty minute wait for the next Belfast connection. Needless to say, I was not a happy bunny.
I was also alone. I looked up and down the platform but there wasn’t another soul to be seen. There were no cars on the road, not even a chirruping bird in the trees to keep me company. I felt like Charlton Heston in ‘The Omega Man.’ Or for the younger generation, Will Smith in ‘I Am Legend.’ And he even had a dog for company.
My dog, Charlie, was wisely curled up in a ball, back in our warm house, while I froze my extremities off on Platform 1, a frosty post apocalyptic landscape which offered me no heat or hope.The minutes ticked by as if the hands of my watch were set in concrete. I huddled deeper into my coat and pulled my hat lower over my ears. Was this what the end of the world felt like?
If you check the news, it certainly looks that way at times. Brexit has finally happened and we’ve left the European Union, there is major political change in the Republic of Ireland and our schools and hospitals are in disarray. The coronavirus has reached our shores and the harbingers of doom are screaming from the rooftops. I even saw a lady in Belfast the other day wearing a surgical mask.
Most days I avoid the news because the only news ever appears to be bad news. I focus instead on the here and now, the daily humdrum. It’s akin to sticking my head in the sand or placing my hands over my ears and singing loudly, hoping it will all go away. I have enough on my plate without worrying about Trump, Boris and that climate change girl who frowns a lot and wears a yellow anorak.
My train finally arrives and I thankfully seek refuge within it, huddled into a window seat nearest the radiator. Light and heat do wonders for my mood and soon the horrors of Platform 1 are behind me as I look forward to the day ahead. The carriage fills with fellow commuters and I’m reassured that the human race is still very much alive and kicking. I’m not the last man standing, the lone survivor.
It’s a lonely place, being the last person on Earth. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Many of us feel that way even when we are surrounded by others. We are islands cut off from the rest of society for all manner of reasons. It can be depression, anxiety, grief, guilt, the list goes on and on. For those who live in such self contained cells it is a miserable existence. It corrodes the soul, stripping away any last vestige of faith or hope.
Loneliness is a silent, creeping killer. Some have no say but others choose this solitary path through life. It is a matter of freewill whereby they shut themselves off from the rest of the world. Please don’t choose this route, for there lies death. Reach out, engage, even if it’s only to reply to this post. Don’t be the last person on the planet. You deserve to be heard and seen, you deserve to live.