Sorry for not posting last week. I was isolating (again) because my mom had Covid. She's fine now, thank God, but I'm beginning to think that isolation is a form of psychological torture.
I consider myself an introvert. Unfortunately, human beings are social animals, and turns out that no one does very well when they can't be around other people. After a few days of not being able to leave my house, my brain just sort of...stopped working.
At first, you think that everything's going to be fine. You stock up on tea and hot chocolate and plan on baking those fall treats you've been looking forward to all year. (For me, it's apple cider donuts.) But then you come back from your last grocery run, you lock the door behind you, and all of a sudden...nothing matters.
I unplugged my digital clock because the bright green numbers made it hard to sleep. It didn't matter. Time meant nothing. My schoolwork was uninteresting. I spent my time daydreaming, or else doom-scrolling through Twitter. I tried to crochet. It worked to an extent. But slowly, everything came to mean nothing. I was waiting, waiting, waiting, my heart rotting in my ribcage, my brain puddling around my spinal cord.
It got me thinking, though. If a single week of isolation is affecting me so severely, what would Lukas realistically be like? He spent thirty-nine years, after all, alone in St. Anne's Monastery. Of course, when my thirteen-year-old self started developing Lukas's character, I had no idea what loneliness did to a person. I thought that he would be a bit socially awkward--homeschooled, if you will. I love Lukas the way he turned out, but I wonder how my books would be different if I made Lukas a bit more realistic.
First off, he wouldn't talk much, and he sure as heck wouldn't be as eloquent as I portray him. Sure, he would have read a lot. But I read a lot, and reading doesn't translate to conversing. He would be silent--people would ask if he was mute, and he'd nod, grateful for the chance to be ignored. He probably wouldn't say more than a word or two to Alynn for--weeks, probably. Unless he was reading out loud. His voice would shake.
And when he finally gets to know Alynn--faith, the things I'd change. His statement of "Don't ye know how wonderful it is, to have someone to keep company with?" in Where the Clouds Catch Fire would be something more powerful, more desperate. Something like "My God, all my life I've wanted someone, anyone, just to--just to be with. Fer the first time in my life, I'm excited to wake up in the morning, because I know ye'll be there."
And when Alynn hugs him for the first time, he won't start praying. He'll freeze for a moment. Then, slowly, he'll start crying. This is the second person in his too-long life that he's received physical affection from. He hadn't realized he'd been starving for it. From then on, he'd keep trying to touch Alynn, trying to relive that feeling--a hand on her shoulder, on the top of her head. He'd twirl her hair while they sat together on the hearth on the long winter evenings, Alynn sewing and Lukas reading. Always innocent things that mean the world to him.
But, alas, Lukas is too far gone to be changed. To be honest, I love him the way he is. And I'm not the only one--I've had several people say that Lukas is their favorite character, and I'm inclined to agree with them. (My birthmother, strangely, prefers Rowan.)
I really hope that I don't have to isolate again. But just in case, what are your tips for staying sane when you can't hug or interact with people? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to review us on Amazon!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.