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There are many types of alone. There’s the alone that nobody likes, when you seek company, but there is no one to give it to you. Then there’s “Leave me alone,” for example, and that’s the kind of alone when you wish a person would just go away and you could have peace. There’s the physical alone, when there is nobody around you; when your body is separated from others.

And there’s the spiritual alone, where you may be entirely surrounded by people, yet you isolate yourself from them so they can’t get to you. It is a state of constant solitude that most people don’t even notice is there; an invisible barrier that is almost impossible to cross.

I’m a different kind of person. A loner, you might say. But I like to be around people. I love to watch them and listen to what they have to say. I like to observe. And yes, I’m very, very judgmental. I do not give my opinion often; I prefer to hear others out and wordlessly decide if they are right or if listening to them is a waste of time. Why do I do this? I don’t know. I guess I was born with more curiosity than most. Or maybe I’m just strange. But who are you to judge? You don’t know me.

Do I have friends? Sure, at least that’s what I call them. I know them so well; they come to me with their problems and secrets. They aren’t afraid to pour out their hearts to me. I readily listen to them, never letting on that I think what they’re doing is stupid. But what do they know about me? Nothing, really. I don’t share my life with them.

This kind of aloneness is my protection. It’s the only way to make sure that nobody can hurt me. It’s like a blanket that hides me from the monsters under my bed. I love it. And I hate it.

Because nobody can hurt me, nobody can help me either. I’m untouchable from both sides. The door that shuts out the bad also shuts out the good. And that just gets lonely after a while.

Sometimes I just sit alone and wonder if this is as good as it gets. I see people falling in love, spending time with family, and sharing their lives with friends, and I wonder, can it really be that bad to open up? But then I see the broken hearts, the goodbyes and the pain that comes with love, and I shrink back into my shell alone. It can’t be worth it to make myself vulnerable.

So I stay alone, in this constant state of solitude, untouched by everyone, wondering if it ever gets any better.

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