For my birthday, I asked for a day alone.
I have always liked being alone, but I haven’t always felt comfortable in it.
I remember being pregnant and going out to eat alone. I was shoved in a corner at one of those tiny tables, and I felt like a leper. I wondered what people were thinking about me: pregnant and alone at that tiny table by the kitchen. I worried about them rather than enjoying my own company.
But twelve years later, I have slipped into this skin of mine. I went out to eat at a restaurant I’ve always wanted to try. No one to share the decision with, it was all my own. I brought a book, put in a headphone and played my playlist. I propped my feet up on the booth, relishing in my comfortability.
The server didn’t ask awkwardly if someone would be joining me, but even if he had, I don’t think I would have minded.
Before lunch, I had been at the nail salon, getting a mani/pedi. The technician asked if I was a teacher. “No,” I replied, “why would you think that?”
“Because,” she said, “you are very calm.”
It’s true I wasn’t drunk like the other hyper ladies in there. It’s true I was just reading a book and thinking. But beyond that, I was calm: I was alone.
After lunch, I walked around a bit, headphones in, shopping half-heartedly. I found this sign, which summed up my day:
I love my kids, of course, but I needed a break, a breather, a reprieve.
I walked down the Keystone trail next. The sun was up and the breeze was perfect and birds were flying and landing on wires. I thought without interruption. I observed without distractions. I lived in the moment, in tranquility.
And then, for dinner, I met up with some friends from the MFA program, We talked about writing and nonsense.
It was the best day I’ve had in awhile. I think once a month Steve and I should grant each other a day of aloneness. To recharge for the real world, the life where we’re not alone.