melancholy comes to the occult 1

“Does anyone have friends these days?”

“What about me and Christian?”

“Unclear. I don’t often chance on you two together.”

“Right. I suppose you don’t.”

“Life can be so desperate. I fear I’ll soon be completely alone.”

“But you’re not alone.”

“Hm. Do you remember the old lady — ‘first female such and such’ from the 70s — who visited last week: with her patterned cravat and tucked in hair? And her bright turquoise suit: everything so done up and aloof and cold.”

“I remember her.”

“I’ll be her. The prospect is terrifying. She’s already here, in a way.”

“But you’re not alone.”

“Why do you say that?”

“We’re chatting.”

“Yes, this is perhaps why I am so skeptical of friendship. It seems that the need to chat is predicated on social insecurity: a fear of being alone. So people keep themselves around other people. But they also debase themselves a little, having conversations that they dislike and that strain them — only for the sake of company.”

“If you’re not socially insecure, what’s the harm in being alone?”

“No more harm than anything else. Which is to say: a great deal of harm.”

“Darling, I’m with you right now. I don’t feel alone.”

“No. You’re wonderful. You always will be.”

“And I enjoy talking with you so much.”

“Well, I’ll try to keep myself available. Just watch out for my cravats. — Oh, but I can’t stand cravats! I hate being alone.”

“You’re very friendly. Affectionate. You don’t seem to know that, somehow.”

“Maybe it will be a turquoise suit — but less the cravat. A generous opening at the neck, a small hanging pendant — something a little welcoming, less closed: more friendly.”

“Better.”

“Yes, better.”