Loneliness by J. Ruth Gendler
Loneliness loves to run, but he is afraid to swim. He wears his isolation around him like a grey sweatshirt thrown back across the shoulders. It started when he was a little boy listening to the adults upstairs screaming at each other as he hid under the covers. At age seven he vowed never to need anyone. It was as if he sealed himself inside his skin, separate from everyone.
Once Loneliness almost changed his mind. There was a woman who he cherished. She surprised him. He loved her so much that he thought he would never be himself again. He trusted that such a relationship could not survive, and it didn't. Now more convinced than ever that companionship is a lie and joy is fragile, he has become contemptuous of other's happiness.
Excerpt from J. Ruth Gendler's, The Book of Qualities.