The two lovers recline, exhausted, bodies entwined, but distant.

He clears his throat, says, “That was great. You’re really something, ya know?”

She arches her back, moves her leg off his. Whispers, “You too.” She doesn’t mean it. Now is not the time to get into it. She says, “I’ll be right back.”

“I’ll be here,” he says, smiling. Pats her on the butt as she stands up.

In the bathroom, she stares into the mirror above the sink. She thinks, my god, how you’ve changed. But how? It’s not the lines or the recent Key West tan. It’s not her marble green eyes which have gotten weaker, and remain unchecked. It’s not the growth pattern of her scant facial hairs.

It’s that she’s no longer seeking a method of appeasing her loneliness. It eats at her from the inside out. It has become her.


About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, Robert leads week long National writing retreats at sites like Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Synergia Ranch, and EarthRise IONS. His poems and fiction are published in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Los Angeles Weekly, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Editor-in-Chief at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing in Milwaukee. He is six times a Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His books are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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13 Responses to Loneliness

  1. Don says:

    This is intense but in a great way. Heavy, and the emotions ring through.

  2. Andrea says:

    Wow! That was quick but fantastic. I wish there was more to find out how she got to the place she is, and what will happen.

  3. Suzi says:

    How sad for her; that hollow feeling when you find you’re alone despite the fact that you have company….what is next for her? Does she leave the bathroom and express her feelings? Does she leave the bathroom and walk out the door never looking back?

  4. kamalakiele says:


  5. Beverly says:

    “Emptiness…is that chattering in your head….it’s the call of the living, and the race from life to death…and I know, yeah I know…what you FEEL.” Annie Lennox
    I read your story, then I listened to the song of the same name by Annie. Thanks for giving me so much inspiration, Robert!

  6. carolyn says:

    I love the way you communicated the depth of emotion felt by one slipping away. So little words of yours can tell it all.

  7. Dez says:

    I wouldn’t want to be in this guy’s position. Then again, is there anyone who can’t relate to looking in the mirror on any given day and not see something like loneliness appear? Nice job, writer Robert!

  8. theprayerlady says:

    Bless her heart, I can relate to her in my other life. So glad that I’m past it. Good job with your writing, short but it hits a lot of emotions. Love, Mom

  9. david says:

    bitter sweet.. sorry but I only have French or German to express it… sort of “J’taime Melancholie” or liebeskummer

  10. Shari says:

    This feels like so many women that I have met through life. They use whatever substance to dull their true feelings and whether it be pot, alcohol, coke or crack, sex, work or other addictions, it only works temporarily. Until one is ready to open that web of loneliness, it looms, it bears down, it greets you in the mirror. Would love for more of this subject in your future sketches. So many lonely people out there who can relate, no doubt.

  11. Angela says:

    Wonderful, Robert! Sad for her, and can relate to the feeling of being lonely while with company. For some reason though I am much more interested in the male character…left so sketchy and naked in bed! x@

  12. tomfroehlich says:

    Wow! Nice. You explained so much about where she was at in her life in just a few short lines.

  13. gregory says:

    A sign of the “aging” times…

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