At work, surrounded by her colleagues, Tosh is perfectly fine. She enjoys her job and is happy to be left in peace to get on with whatever she happens to be working on at any given time, whether that’s tapping away at her computer keyboards working on one of her programmes or fathoming the intricacies of alien technology.
As she works, she half listens to her colleagues gossiping and bickering as they get on with their own tasks; the background noise is comforting and wraps around her like a familiar snuggly blanket, keeping the emptiness away. She likes getting out of the Hub too, on Rift retrievals, and sometimes Weevil hunts, even helping to deal with alien invasions. That part of the job can be dangerous, but it’s often exhilarating. She’s part of something good, helping to keep the people of Cardiff safe from things they’re not ready to know about and wouldn’t understand. She’s learned so much and discovered capabilities within herself that she never would have imagined a few years ago. Rollercoaster ride though it can be, she can’t imagine a better or more rewarding career than working for Torchwood. Every day is an adventure.
So work is great, it’s after the workday ends that’s the problem, and for that very reason she often works late into the night, even when she doesn’t need to. Going home to her empty flat, especially on cold, dark winter evenings, is unappealing.
At home, she turns on the TV or the radio to chase away the silence, switches the lights on to push back the shadows, and finds ways to distract herself from the lack of company, doing chores, or reading a book, or working on her laptop, or sometimes even watching a movie. But no matter what she does to fill in the time between getting home and going to bed, she’s always painfully aware that she’s alone.
By day, while she works surrounded by the bustle and barely controlled chaos that is Torchwood, she can tell herself she’s not lonely, that she has friends, that she has a place where she belongs, but when she’s all by herself in her little home she can’t hide from the truth. Loneliness surrounds her like a cold and cloying fog, making her feel hollow and empty inside. She has friends, yes, the people she spends her days with, people she even sometimes joins on an evening out, but there’s no special someone waiting for her at home, no one to welcome her back after a long day, cook her dinner, pour her a glass of wine, ask her about her day. No one to cuddle up with in front of the TV, no one to hold her and love her at night, no one to steal the covers, or press their cold feet against her, or snore until she pokes them in the side and tells them to turn over the way her mother always does with her father.
She’s not asking for much, she only wants what everybody wants, just somebody to love and to share her life with. But in her darkest moments, when the loneliness and silence feel like a suffocating weight pressing down on her, she can’t help wondering how much longer she’s expected to wait.