I look around me and see smiling faces. People laughing. Living life deeply and contentedly. I am an alien among them. Among this intriguing and strange species of happy people. I study them unobtrusively. I do not know what to make of them.
I want to be one of them.
I am an extraterrestrial. I do not belong here with these cheerful human beings. I wear their skin, but have no heart. Their warm blood does not flow in my veins. The way they think and act is foreign to me. As I am foreign to them. I wear a disguise so they will not see my strangeness. So they will not notice how different I am.
With their laughter and smiles comes something I cannot comprehend. Invisible cords are formed that bind them together. They share each moment in some way I do not understand, connected in their communal pleasure. Linked by their collective delight and joy. United from walking through the same experience or emotion. I burrow deeper into my disguise, twisting up the corners of my mouth as I pretend that I, too, am united and joined. That I am like them.
Where I am from, there is no caring or lightheartedness. No connectedness. My planet is filled with heaviness and anguish. We toil and labor, fighting for survival in a dismal, unfulfilling world. We are encased in grayness and live isolated lives. My species doesn’t throw back their head in laughter. Nor do we shake with the pleasure of a shared humorous moment or leak tears of joy. Although I have observed this phenomenon many times, I remain mystified by these humans who do such things so regularly. I am puzzled…and envious.
I have been here, on this place called “earth” for many years now. Still, I am not a part of the astonishing life these happy people live. Their joyfulness seems to flow from those invisible threads that bind them together with others of their species. The more connections they share, the happier they are. It gives them more for which to live. Carries them through times that are challenging. Sometimes, they acknowledge those invisible threads by making a physical connection too. By holding hands. Kissing. Wrapping their arms around each other. This brings a genuine and magnificent smile to their face. Shared touch appears to add pleasure. And delight.
It makes me long to be held.
It makes me long to connect.
They make their own sunshine. They create meaning where there is no meaning and purpose where there is none to be found. They discover reason and joy where no reasonable man would. The threads that grow between them glow and shimmer though they cannot be seen with the eye. Emotions swell as the cords increase in number. The happy people become full, even in great emptiness. They are jubilant, even in their sadness. They draw strength from one another and are sustained.
It is beyond me. I do not understand. But I want to. Not just understand. I want to know. I want to feel it. I want to experience it. I want to be one of the happy people who populate this planet. This planet that swoops through a universe of darkness brightened by the light of these perplexing people. A world that rotates in vast isolation but on which such strong cords are forged between people, they build, live, work, laugh, cry, dream and die together, in the arms of those who have come to deeply know and treasure them.
I weep with desire. The yearning in my soul is so immense, I fear it will rip me apart and shred my heart into tiny pieces. I watch behind this mask I must wear and scream a silent scream. It is almost more than I can endure.
I watch them, the happy people, and cry inside. I cry in pain; with great hunger. I watch silently and as I watch, I reach to adjust the smile that is painted here upon my face, keeping it in place, pretending to belong. Pretending I am not an alien, a stranger. Fantasizing that someday, as they reach out for each other, one of them will reach out for me and form a thread of a connection and that I will finally know what it is like to belong. And that I will no longer be alone.