Iowa Writes

Other Lonely People

I recognize them, and they me, with skewed glances that can scope out a room faster than quick. They are seated alone (always) in downtown coffee shops. I imagine they are professors at the university. Or researchers. They arrive with briefcases or knapsacks full of work, wearing their eccentricities—bulging pockets, half-inch thick glasses, sagging bodies that have on no account seen the inside of a gym, disarrayed graying hair—without the slightest awareness. Sitting for hours nursing their coffee, they avoid the eyes of others. No one joins them. I wonder if they have always been lonesome, or are new to it, like me. Every time I see them, I want to say, "Hey, I understand. Want to...?" I don't. Because more than pitying them, I despise them, the way they reflect my loneliness right back to me.

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

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Besides being lonely, Ms. Rainey is currently a M.F.A. candidate in the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program. She loves writing about Iowa (although, if pressed, she'll admit she's been working on a screenplay for quite some time now, titled Paradise Rewritten: Lucifer's Memoirs). If winter ever ends, she has sworn to read Ulysses to the sparrows, finches, and cardinals come May.

This page was first displayed
on April 21, 2008

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