He wanted to like who he was. Or at least who he was with himself. He offered some sort of false hope, that he was somehow better than all his shortcomings and his modest successes. He wasn’t. He knew this much to be true. These thoughts clouded his mind on days when he was confined to his room, no voice except his own hammering out concise statements, philosophizing on life and the eternal human condition. These were the days he felt a prisoner of his own mind, doomed to his small room, thinking and theorizing about a life he knew he would never live. There was madness in his process, but there was a sense of security, a safety as he hid away from any real human connections other than the intimate one he had forged with himself years ago. But what he saw was an opportunity, the possibility that all his antiquated and bitter sentiments about mankind and his mistresses were somehow products of his environment, falsehoods that he told himself to rationalize an irrational fear of human touch. The window of his room offered outlook, but a removal from the world around him. It’s easy to judge behind panes of glass. But not him, the man with the weathered face and the tired eyes. The expression he wore was a testament to the cruelty of the outside elements, the physical abuse and emotional torment of going through life, living for the next day but never for the moment in which he resided. He saw in his glassed over eyes the regrettable nature of living, the flesh stripped of all signs of life as it hung, wearily, from the man’s gaunt face. He clung to these images of self, these preserved moments in which his existence, his reality, was undeniable. He didn’t need someone else to see him, to touch him, to hear the steady beat of his heart, because he had all these things. He knew the others, the weak ones outside his realm of self, the ones who needed to be touched and to be heard to know that they were alive. He scoffed at them because he knew what the lives of others brought. He knew that with the touch of others came the responsibility to hear and be heard, to touch and be touched, to feel for others, to be hurt by others. He didn’t need to feel that again. He didn’t need to know the misery of others as proof of life. He had built a life of his own within the safety of the decaying walls, the yellowing wallpaper of his room that curled up in the corners, reminders of the damage that had been done to this room and to himself. His squalid surroundings seemed a fitting cage for his fractured thoughts and false declarations of superiority. He was imprisoned in this room. He clung to its reminders of the passing of time, and the passing of his time. He wasn’t always alone.