If solitude were a substance, I would distill it in a flask. Separate its chemical composition. There is meditative solitude that feeds the body with unshakeable harmony, a purple strip that floats above the rest. The next is the disturbing gray of lonesome solitude, an acidic sting of wanting. Wanting of more. Wanting another human to share your nuances with. Warning: lonesome solitude combusts when exposed to oxygen. At the very bottom is distanced solitude, a cloudy moss green. Distanced solitude isolates reality from mind and heart. It is a stable compound, unreactive to most other substances. It makes your eyes glaze into the distance, immersed in another world.

Solitude is often my substance of choice. The stepping back from reality through immersion in writing. The solo running, where the sound of breath precipitates on warm skin. The faraway eyes, even amongst hoards of people, thinking about not here nor now.

Solitude was the childhood days of playing pretend, imagining the roles of my stuffed animals, lined up one by one. It was the nights in bed, rambling poetry to my red notebook. The long days of inhabiting the worlds of my favorite novels. Back then, solitude was my bread and butter.

Nowadays, taking my drug fills me with guilt. Surrounded by people on this campus, it has changed composition and feels foreign. The higher concentration of lonesome solitude injects my veins with paranoia. I begin to find other uses of time and more digestible substances. Perhaps years ago, I chose solitude because it was the only thing available.


But tonight, I choose solitude again, embracing its humble taste. I chew it slowly, noting the layers of its composition. I swallow, feeling its texture along my throat. As it seeps into my bloodstream, I accept the array of meditative, lonesome, distanced that dance together, each feeding off of the other.

Solitude. An elusive substance. My best friend and greatest enemy. So bittersweet to consume.

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