Sunday, November 21, 2010

When It All Stays The Same

Sometimes it feels like a punishment.

This aloneness that follows me everywhere I go. From one side of the country to the other, from adolescence to young adulthood.

The story remains the same.   

The long weekends of silence once the busyness of life has slowed.  The phone that doesn’t ring, the knock that doesn’t come.

And so I stay locked away inside myself.

I spend more time in this apartment than I should, fixing carefully crafted meals for one and turning into bed early; an attempt to escape the crushing loneliness that has permeated this space.

 I lie down and dream that maybe tomorrow there will be someone who wants to stick around for a while. There’s got to be someone.  

I told myself long ago, there will either be a time when it all changes, or it’ll all stay the same. It seems that the latter is true. Maybe this is the thorn in my flesh, the ache that I’ll be reminded of daily in the midst of joyful moments and contentedness.

And because I can’t spend my life waiting, I go looking for those moments in places where it feels ok to be alone. These have always been my favorite, the bookstores, caf├ęs and darkened movie theaters, where I can busy myself without a companion.

Today, while my dinner was simmering in the Crock Pot, I lunched in a place that’s frequented by friends and lovers. Alone.

I forewent the security blanket that is my laptop. But I did bring along a hearty novel, just in case.

I swooped in and took the only table for two left. The place was packed; the chatter and laughter of friends and young families surrounded me.

I ordered quickly and opened the book, hiding my face until my plate came. When it did I looked up to thank my waiter and spotted at the very back of the restaurant an older man, with a long salt and pepper ponytail resting on his neck. He held a book in front of his face, looking around at the flip of each page.

I caught his eye for only a second, which was long enough to get me wondering whether this was his joyful moment, or the end of a long string of mornings waking up alone.