There are some amazing aspects of a single life. I get to sleep in the middle of the bed, scissoring my legs and rolling from side to side without a care in the world. In the morning, when I rush to the bathroom to pee and I leave the door open, it doesn’t matter. It also doesn’t matter that I let out a little squeaker as I lean over the sink and brush my teeth while making funny faces. But for all of the good, there can be some bad.
Most noticeably, the silence is louder when you are single. Random creaks of the wooden floor and clanging of wind-rattled windows are more jarring. Somehow staying in on a Friday night, sprawled across the sofa like a beached whale while viewing a marathon of Say Yes to the Dress, feels more pathetic than if there were another person confined within the same four walls. It’s at these times that you think you’d give it all up. You’d be happy to pee with the door closed if only you had a warm body to crawl up next to in the middle of the night.
“You haven’t said anything about Alaska all night,” a friend mentioned as we sipped iced coffees and peered into the windows of closed boutiques lining the avenue.
“Oh yeah, no. That’s done. Dead in the water. Finished-finished,” I said as I squinted against the darkness to admire a strapless Lily Pulitzer dress.
“Congrats!” she offered as she tapped her plastic Starbucks cup against mine.
It took me a very long time to get to this place. Stalled out in the abyss of the unknown, I welcomed his suggestions of reuniting and cursed his last minute cancellations, his pulling back excused by his fear he’d hurt me. “How ironic,” I’d always say in response to this claim. “Yeah,” was all he could ever muster. All the while, I remained single while distantly attached to this ghost of a man.
“Better yet, there’s sorta kinda maybe someone else,” I said as we sat down on the worn stone stairs leading up to a bank.
“Ooh, exciting. Do tell.”
A bus pulled up to the curb, idled loudly as passengers stepped off, and then crawled back into the stream of traffic. I glanced up at the starless sky and waited for the quiet of night to return. Then I told her everything.
I told her that it’s actually a friend, a guy I met through blogging. That while I can’t recall how our paths crossed over the wires, we met in person a few years back when he came to Philly for work. It was a friendly get together that included an evening tour of the Philadelphia sites followed by mussels, burgers and beer at Monk’s. Various things kept us from exploring anything further. He was deploying to Afghanistan. I was still attached, albeit by a thread, to Alaska. We’d kept in touch over the years and now, now seemed liked a good time to explore things further.
“I fly out Friday night,” I announced as a man and his Labrador moseyed by.
“Get out! Awesome. I’m really happy for you, Paige.”
“Yeah. Me too. And while I have absolutely no expectations, he makes me laugh. So at the very least, it should be a fun weekend.”
Plus, I thought quietly to myself, it will be nice to curl up next to him and rest my head on his chest, my hand on his stomach. After all this time, it will be nice to feel the opposite of alone.