When There’s No One

“You know what – I just got back here from Disneyland!” I blurted out to the cashier at the K convenience store about five cartwheels away from my hotel in Yau Ma Tei. “Oh, yeah?” responded the cashier, “So, you enjoyed?”

“I’m not sure. I just feel really tired. I went there alone, you know.” I answered her as-a-matter-of-factly. Her eyes widened. Instead of trying to say something comforting or witty, the cashier wished me well as I spent the rest of my week in Hong Kong. I told her that I hoped to see her around in the days to come.

As I walked silently through the hotel lobby, the staff at the reception desk looked confused. I’m that one backpacking hotel guest that always chatted with them or said something bright and sunny every time I left and got back at the hotel. That night, they got nothing from me.

In the elevator, I looked at my reflection. I looked three shades darker. My head was spinning when I got off the elevator on the seventeenth floor. I hurried to my room, dumped my bag on a stool, and found myself slumped on the floor next to my bed. I started sobbing.

I was exhausted from all the misfortune I went through at the amusement park. I was brought to Disneyland by the service coach three hours beyond schedule. Every time I lined up for a photo with Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Russell the Wilderness Explorer, or any Disney character for that matter, the line would get cut because there’s always a limit to the number of people allowed in the line. I missed the grand parade by Snow White’s castle because the guide who briefed me told me incessantly for almost a minute that the parade was at four in the afternoon when in reality, it was at three. At some point, my vision blurred and darkened as my walking criss-crossed from the Space Mountain ride to the comfort room. It was thirty-eight degrees that afternoon at the park. I didn’t have much money with me to buy food. I didn’t have an umbrella. I had no one with me. I just might have been the unhappiest person in the happiest place on Earth.

As my shoulders shook hard while crying, I drew my knees close to my chest in a tight hug. Yes, I admit that my crying was initially triggered by my being pissed from my park misfortunes. But then, I came to acknowledge that I was sad to have been alone. Amusement parks are meant to be shared with people you love. I would have wanted to be linking arms with a friend or two. I would have wanted to laugh and be wowed at the spontaneous percussions performance of two ice cream men with my boo. I would have been able to enjoy a pricey meal if I were with Mommy, and I would have even appreciated getting nauseous at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups ride with my Daddy!

Growing up, I am used to operating alone. Having no siblings at all, I have sought and found happiness on my own. But then you grow up, see much of the world, experience new sensations, meet people, and start building relationships.

Then, you realize that the sun looks brighter when you’re with someone; that the horrible playlist on the bus headed home would have been bearable while sharing laughter with a friend you consider a brother or sister; that on your own, you can be strong and happy, but with one, two, or three others with you, you could have one sweet reality.

No, life isn’t miserable when you’re alone. But it isn’t so bad as well if there are others with you – even just one.