SECLUSION

By Johannes Adriaan Snyman

Hopping from Facebook to twitter to Instagram and back to Facebook again.

It wasn’t always like that. Gemma remembered a time not so long ago when she, and all others in her life, took the friendly and joyous companionship they had, for granted.

She remember the Sunday picnics by the lake after church, and the early evening dinners by candle light in the garden, in front of the white plantation house.

The white double story plantation house, full of love and good memories.

They told her that moving to Yorkshire in England will be lonely. But she didn’t think it felt like this. There was the dream. The dream of becoming a world famous writer. Or at least the notion of making a name for herself.

So at first Gemma had tons of music to keep her company. But it lasted for about a month or so before becoming mundane. Then the entertainment of YouTube videos kept the mind from darkening.

It was not that the local people in Barnsley were unfriendly. Not even remotely, for the Yorkshire countryside presented itself as hospitable and openhearted as any region in the Northern hemisphere can be.

People actually went out of their way to welcome this young Zimbabwean girl who came all the way for the prospects of a better life, after having heard the cruel reality of her, together with her family having been evicted off their sugar plantation.

With her parents having moved to South Africa, she decided that the beautiful adventurous world awaits her. The exciting world of writing and exploring.

And here she sat in her apartment.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. And then back to Facebook.

How did it come to this?

How could a person be surrounded by so many people, yet being lonely to the point of severe frustration?
‘Dear me,’ she thought to herself whilst putting the kettle on in what felt like the hundredth time for the morning.

The flashbacks of her loved ones just kept jumping into her head, endlessly, over and over again. And then the darkness in the mind. Life became dull so quickly. She read somewhere about serotonin levels of the brain being low, and doesn’t really understand it, but if she could find a drink for boosting those ‘feel good stuff,’ then she would have downed it instantly.

The previous day’s church service didn’t help the situation one bit either. They were all old-aged people keeping the usual rituals of the reformed religion, smiling out of duty… or habit, she couldn’t really be sure.

Gemma closed her eyes.

‘How do I get out of this body?’ she whispered softly, while images of her family jumped involuntary in to her head.

‘How do I escape? There must be a way. Any way.”

Gemma felt like running away and never stop. To all the nice places in those Facebook pictures. Or anywhere else. Back home.

Why? Why? Why? Our home for ever ruined. Never to return.

Loneliness. Aloneness. Solitude.

Worse than death.

No tears. No facial expression. Nothing. Worse than death.

‘How do I get out of this body? How do I escape my own soul?’

*****