This was after he’d left. After the dog. It was the first time the solitude had truly gotten to him. He’d felt hints of it before. These pangs in the heart—no, deeper than that. His soul? His self? His Being. The idea—the truth—that this was his doing hurt in a way he hadn’t thought possible. Because even thinking about it was to know a special kind of pain. A pain most people avoid at all costs.
He’d seen the lengths people would go to feel connected. He’d been there at the height of it. In some sense he’d led the way. Much of the technology that allowed people to talk to each other across the globe was born from his ingenuity. The masses gaze locked to small windows, thinking they saw the world. They missed so much. The connection they felt, a sad facade.
Here, now, he wonders if leaving was a mistake. Avoiding people, diving into the deepest end of an ocean where he’s the only swimmer. The symbolic meaning of that is clear to him. There’s no map for where he’s going. He only knows the way in the core of his Being. That same part of him that feels torn to shreds.
The cave is massive. Each footstep sends an echo bouncing off the walls. The sound ripples into the cave and fades into its depths. Caves, water, the desert dunes of India. He smirks, but feels no joy. The expression comes from a habit. He continues deeper into the cave. His thoughts wander back to her. Always back to her.
He drags his mind back to here. Back to now. Back to the reality that he is alone and will be for many, many years to come. He will not see her until after humanity climbs to the stars. But that won’t happen before they fall. Until there’s nowhere else to look but up.
For now, he’ll sit in this cave and pull further away from them. Into the very heart of darkness where there is no one else but him. Where his only company is himself. Oh what torture it’ll be, but it has to be done.