Dec 072014

This evening is my first completely solo time in my home in ten years. It’s a little startling, because it came about quickly through happenstance, like a random collision of pinball events. Since December 2004, I’ve always had a cat (and most of the time my partner!) sharing my home space. Tonight Jen is out with a friend, I won’t see her for a few days, and my faithful and sometimes whiney companion, Edwin P. Hubble, is spending the night at the vet with a urinary problem. So it’s just me, and the frogs in the nearby creek.

Hubble, shown here after a hard day of texting, was acting strangely this morning. Both of us noticed it, and finally around noon we figured out that he hadn’t peed in the litter box in a couple of days. Fortunately, the San Rafael Pet Emergency Center is a great resource, helping me in the past as I lost Hubble’s brother Chandra, and my mother’s elderly and sweet German Shepherd, Sheba. Today they were great yet again, catheterized and caring for my friend. He’s doing fine, and I should have him home tomorrow night. Hopefully some diet changes will prevent this from happening again.

It’s odd to be completely solo at home, even for just a day. Two years ago, I wrote here about how my life had pared down to just my cat and myself. Now I’m pared even further to just the essential me, and I am rather surprised at how different my house feels, even though Hubble (aka “The Black Avenger”) is mostly a lurking and invisible presence. It’s honestly wonderful to experience a little time with absolutely no relationship responsibility. Don’t get me wrong; I love being in relationship, and my time with Jen is treasure time. And I’ve experienced it while traveling by myself, of course. But it’s oddly freeing to have this sensation in my own home. I remember a little more than ten years ago, after separating from my first wife, how rattled I felt while completely by myself. It was excruciating, to be honest, and I could not sit still with myself for more than a few hours…had to go out, do something. After Nancy passed, Hubble has been a constant in my life, a partner always happy to receive affection, responding by draping himself on me, or shoulder-diving into my arm and hand. I can feel more clearly how he has helped me navigate my grieving, the shifts in my psyche without her.

Honoré de Balzac wrote “Solitude is fine but you need someone to tell that solitude is fine.” I’ve lived a relationship with that quote for decades, used it to rationalize my feelings, helped me deal with my incapacity for pure solitude. But I notice that the quote is no longer true for me. How wonderful here and now is. Floppy cat, good. Fabulous partner, more than good. Tonight, solitude is good.

And the frogs sound outrageously alive and cheerful.

  One Response to “solitude”

  1. When I’m in relationship, I love being alone. Deb’s traveling tonight, the house is quiet, and I’m enjoying pottering about the house in my own space and doing my own thing. Of course it’s also nice to have someone to tell that I’m enjoying being alone!

    There’s a huge difference for me between being alone (by choice) and being lonely (enforced or extended separation from human connection). I’ve experienced quite a bit of both, and I can vouch that the former is infinitely better… 🙂

    Enjoy your solitude, Tom.


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