Short Story – Conversations over drinks on the Psychology of Isolation (By David Portyanskiy)

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Conversations over drinks on the Psychology of Isolation
By David Portyanskiy


I was sitting alone underneath the dark lights drinking a cocktail I couldn’t remember the name of. The days go by leaving me more and more time to drink and sit in taverns. But now I was not alone, a stranger approached me when I remained in my solitude.

Through the small talk he invited me to sit at his table, just us, and offered to buy me a drink. He was lonely as me, I could tell, but with a sense of self confessing paranoia.

-It hasn’t become safe around here anymore. People are killing one another based on the color of their skin. Men and women accuse one another of idiotic pretenses. I have even seen a daughter confess and expose to the authorities her father belonging to an unpopular group that voted for someone nobody wanted.

-Why are you speaking vaguely in your sentences? I asked.

-Because I can’t speak honestly. I did and I was nearly killed for that. I have to speak like this because nobody except a few who understands what’s occurring can comprehend me.

-Life can’t be that bad.

-Do you know why I approached you?

-Because you are as lonely as me, looking for a person to talk to. And so am I.

I glanced a better look at this individual. He was wearing a brown fedora and a dark suit. A simple one with a blazer and what appears to be a dark red shirt, in this dimly lit room. The top button was exposed. His face is the color of the fedora as it blended together with the room. The skin exposed from the unbuttoned top confirmed it. He did not stand out but perfectly blended in.

-Yes, but because I can see from your appearance and behavior that you are not from around here. You don’t belong in many places. This is not the first time I have seen you around here. I visit this tavern many a times and I have always noticed that you sit alone trying to make conversations with people or the waitress and always leave the same way you entered. I don’t know, maybe you have some kind of disorder that makes it difficult for you to associate with people. It’s visible but not clearly.

-What’s your point?

-My point is that you are like me. I belong to a certain organization and we don’t think like people around us. The majority of people here think about ideas that conflict with one another, refuse debate, and are prone to violence. These are the same people that caused the riots and looting that we have been plagued with for years and these are the same people that caused the abolition of the police. Hence the increase in violence and destruction. My organization is under attack. We don’t agree with these people. We are not violent like them. They simply attack because they have nothing to prove. They don’t follow facts, evidence, anything. They only believe in emotions and will skew the data for their own beliefs. They are also clever. If they see somebody that doesn’t agree with them, they will excommunicate him or her and they will soon have him fired, forced out, ostracized from whatever community that actually exists between them, and possibly worse, murdered. All for the glorious sake of ideology. For that is the purpose of existence. I’m telling you this because they already have made you feel like an outcast. They can tell, simply by the color of your skin, like mine, and the waves of your hair. But that’s not the point. Here is my card, the number is my cell. If you ever want to join, give me a call.

He handed me his card which exhibited a store front. He sipped his drink and looked around, watching the patrons socialize as we sit near the corner talking.

-This is a business card to …

-I know, that is my store. It’s the best place to reach me.

He took another sip and took a deep breathe.

I placed the card inside my wallet and looked at him as he looked around.

-It’s funny, I have grown to hate man the more I spend time in places where he is most abundant. I have grown to hate him for he has always hated me.

-Are you misanthropic?

-I am, but don’t get me wrong. Every misanthrope is one because they have been betrayed, bullied, insulted, or harmed by another. Not once but from different people who have gained your trust. It’s a paradoxical situation. I want everyone dead because they want me dead. But then I will be alone and will suffer more under my isolation. I suffer alone and in other hands. But the psychologists will say that you hate others because you hate yourself. You cannot get any real pride or validation yourself unless it’s from the other. I don’t know what’s wrong with myself that causes all this. Maybe it’s my place of being. I know other places welcome us with open arms, but not here. There they put us straight to work to make our living. Here you are spitted at but get paid to sit on your ass.

-Maybe you need to escape. Leave where you are not wanted.

-I will but the fear of not finding anything else is strong as well. To escape into exile, I will be where I am now in an ostracized zoo.

I took a sip of my drink.

-We live in an age of resentment. They resent the guard because he is the one, they entitled their values of life to. People give their rights to the state and follow blindly and others despise the state because other’s have given up their rights and are forced to. There is a dual attitude of resentment – the one who asks the value of his life and the person who must answer for their own life.

The bottled anger of societal withdrawal.


I imagine his thoughts at one point in his life, very recently. I didn’t catch his name until he finished his drink.

-I believe it is time for me to go. By the way my name is Miller. I believe we haven’t properly introduced ourselves. What is your name?

-I’m Leonardo.

-A pleasure, next time we meet I hope it will be under brighter circumstances. A very good evening. Goodbye.

He walked over to the bar and paid for the drinks. He walked away and his presence completely evaporated from the room. There was something odd with his departure, as if he was known only to me and nobody else. A shrouded figure on a meeting for something. A sense of death floated around him but that didn’t bother him. He wasn’t part of any group; he was more prone to exclusion then I was.


Author Bio: David Portyanskiy

I am a student enrolled in Finance at the College of Staten Island and current lives in Staten Island. I have been writing for a few years and have an interest in world literature and philosophy. I have just been published in FreeXpression, an Australian online magazine. I am also a composer training on the piano and will be enrolling into the Curtis Institute for Music for the 2022 school year.