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After days and years of solitary walks, meandering along the sea, or through the quiet forest glade, delving into the chasms and crevices of my belladonna-mind, the leering darkness provoked a change, and I found myself upon a nocturnal stroll of the urban kind.

I ambled along amidst the jubilant bar life, the incandescent window displays and charming, but dolefully indifferent, advertisements whoring for a sale.

I trotted along the night-washed sidewalk, myriad globs of smashed gum wads catching the glow of a nearby streetlamp. They glinted in perfect circles punching through the dark like stars to light my way.

Framed by the passing headlights, the silhouettes of Panhandlers stalked along like jackals looming near a bleeding kill they could never quite reach.

Moody Indie-music lumbered out from the dreary maw of the newest haunt. The sound mingled with the hum of fans, the buzz of neon signs, and the silent boisterous banter of the chaos within-

Words joggling and spurting, desperate to touch (with lucidity, with meaning), but always guarded- and so naively off-key, like hesitant eyes that rise out of cadence and fail to meet (and so sabotage what might have been). I walked on.

Solitude followed me as I shuffled through smiling countenances (grinning teeth obscuring the self-doubt and brittle sadness within) glaring through the darkness. I walked effortlessly, gliding along in my pinstripe hat and my animated thoughts. In the cover of the leafy weald, or in a circus theatre, yes, Solitude always became me.

And I was content. Aloneness was never barren or hollow, but resolute and kind. It fostered reason and curiosity, the creative mind like perennial autumn flare ruffled by the rejuvenating wind, fresh and crisp and ludic. Aye, I was alone, but never dreary. I had determined to avoid the infection of loneliness.

But I did come to know Madness, before the wall of mud and sticks finally gave way and the onslaught of my own wild thoughts were released to flow free. Before I knew the bliss it was to embrace my Self.

My gritty step faded. The crowds, the bars, the panhandlers, all dissolved behind me. The charming signs, the decorative lights and floating music, all wafted away. I was free, and I was lively, and I was going somewhere, gliding along rivulets of thought- and always by my side along the way, my coy and reticent friend, Solitude.

Goodnight,

Autumn Jade

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