I am an only child. I am captivated by solitude. I am equally captivated by people.
Although I am a lover of people, solitude is where I get the most done. The most figured out. It also makes sense at this stage of the game why I love to read and write so much. Both are mostly solitary activities.
I’ve also discovered in the throes of relationship bliss, I need time alone. I need my own space. In other words, I need a few hours a day and collectively a few times a week, where I can just be alone. That time looks like time to just sit in front of the tv, walk, or just have time alone in the house without any interruption. It’s easy to get that when you live alone though.
I prefer quiet. Ok, wait. I need quiet. I can spend time in the house where there’s no music and no TV and just clean or cook or both. I live in the city where quiet is a premium feature. I defend it fiercely.
I like the house kept a certain way.
I don’t like people moving all of my things. Yes, there are papers in piles but I’m a genius and I know exactly where everything is. By moving it one can disrupt the process of the genius. This doesn’t end well.
Most days I’m fine with this routine. And well, I’d be lying if I said I don’t appreciate the solitude. Every now and again, when the house is clean and I’m alone and happy, that loneliness creeps up. Out of nowhere. The solitude is deafening at times.
It’s the drunk dial/text loneliness. It’s the loneliness that will make me start to go over in my head all the errors and mistakes, asking too many what ifs. How I should have maybe tried harder or did something better – that maybe I should not have said something or maybe I should have opened my mouth more. It’s the loneliness that creeps in and makes me want someone to cook for and laugh with and curl up with.
Or just how I miss….
Or how I miss THE him, the proverbial ONE we wish for…or I haven’t met yet. Or have I? And I just don’t and he doesn’t know.
When it’s quiet like this it would be nice to know that I have someone waiting for me or coming home to me. Happy to see me. Someone who would be true to me. Someone who is on MY team – not just me on his. That he would be concerned about my life and happiness as much as I am concerned about his. And then I think about how all of this has pushed me into these faux timelines with an unnecessary sense of urgency.
I think a lot. Solitude allows for that.
In the end, it’s the solitude and the peace allowing me to sit and write. The solace to collect my thoughts and discover the pieces of me. The freedom to come and go as I please. To do whatever I want to do. To be free to meet new people and mingle. To accept any invitation. To rearrange the house or not. To clean the house or not. To travel and to plan and to create my life as I want it.
But freedom is never free. There is always a price.
In the moments of peace, I wonder if it will be hard to relinquish some of this when the day comes that I meet him. What will happen then? That is the price. The cost of desire. What it costs to want something you have very little control over.
Until then, I have the blessing of listening to the crickets tonight and the music of my neighbors downstairs. Of knowing the spaces in the marshes of the Anacostia river when I ride over it on the train. I will be able to point those out to him one day, I think. To tell him about those cranes I look for every morning as the train careens across the river.
I have the option to have whatever I want for dinner. I have the option to stay up and pace at all hours of the night. I have the option to consider only myself this evening, writing well into the night without anyone to answer to.
But there is that price, the cost. A burden I will gladly trade when the time and the man are right. A man who will enjoy the solitude of our togetherness in our carved out space in the world. Who will protect our space together in the world.
Tonight, in the solitude there is the thought of him, wherever and whoever he may be. I think of the book I have to publish. I think of all of the dreams I have. I think of my friends and family and how I love and adore my life. In the solitude, all of these things are safe and sacred.
Tonight there’s this recognition I’m not lonely. I am only alone and for tonight and the night is perfect as it is.