In My Prime

How is it time for Thanksgiving again? I think that the dog and I may have a traditional holiday: a plate of bacon and a superhero movie. (Fun fact: pilgrims loved pork belly and the Avengers.)

I don't have to spend the day alone, of course. Let me start here by acknowledging that I am a lucky fuck. I am welcomed at friends' tables and in their living rooms. I am invited to break bread and clink wine glasses. I have the means to take myself to dinner, when so many do not. I can sit at the bar, and order whatever strikes my fancy, and treat myself to a cocktail or two. Or I can stay home and experiment with this "cooking" thing without fear of consequence if I fail horribly at it. (See aforementioned ability to take myself out to dinner if needed.) I am so ridiculously lucky, and I am so so grateful. But sometimes...sometimes...it is hard being the prime number. 

3. 5. 7. I am so often literally the odd woman out, the appendage to all the couples around me, or I'm telling the restaurant hostess "just one." And while I like solitude--hell, I used to give Michael money to go out to a movie or would send him on Man Trips to bar hop with his best friend--I do find that now and then being alone starts to shade into being lonely.

It isn't just sometimes...sometimes...wishing to come home from a trip and having someone hold me and whisper into my ear, "I missed you." It isn't only occasionally thinking it would be nice to have somebody roll over in the morning, and look at my crazy hair and my sleepy eyes and my face creased by the pillow and say, "You are beautiful, good morning." (Yes, clearly he would have to have bad eyesight.) It isn't solely that periodically I want to bring home some surprise, just because I know he would like it and it's Wednesday. It isn't just wanting that moment in a room full of people when you look at him, wink, and you both know every word of the unspoken conversation that took place in that single moment. It isn't even knowing that when a girl is sick and all sniffly and sore the only thing that will help is somebody rubbing her hair and murmuring, "I know, I know, it just stinks to be sick." It's all of that; all the little tiny right now moments that make a person confident that she isn't all alone.

And yet, sometimes....sometimes...there is a part of me that likes the solitude and the independence. I like putting on my pajamas at 7:30 to watch a movie on the couch. I like eating what I want without first having the obligatory, "I don't know, what do you want for dinner?" conversation. I don't need to consult or check schedules or coordinate to accept an invitation or decide on an adventure at the last minute. I appreciate knowing where everything is all the time, because all is arranged according to my idiosyncratic notions alone. And while I must wake alone, I also get to sleep alone without someone else stirring and snoring and sighing beside me. I miss the prosaic everyday joys of being part of a twosome, but it wasn't so long ago that I had that so I don't also remember the myriad tiny daily frictions that can work under your skin like a splinter. Sometimes...sometimes...a dinner for one, with only Dinah Washington and a book for company, feels like sheer perfection. At oh-my-god-I'm-almost-50, I don't know that I want to accommodate another person's quirks in my cozy house or my tidy little life.

We never really fought, though we'd certainly disagree at times and we absolutely drove each other nuts with some frequency. In the midst of the contradictions and conflicts that litter the path to compromise, we would look at each other and say, "You make me crazy, but I'm sticking with you because I just can't bear the thought of dating again." I know, romantic, right? Yet, here I am.

I guess the good thing is that at this point--without the questions about starting a family, or a career, or really anything other than perhaps a new hobby or two--these things can take their own forms. At half a century, it seems a girl doesn't have to choose between solitude and companionship, but can instead blend the two in some way that allows for cereal for dinner and passing Junior Mints back and forth during a movie. Surely being beyond all those expectations and rules is something for which to be grateful?

And in the meantime, anybody who wants bacon, jammies, a action-filled movie, and prodigious amounts of dog hair is welcome to give thanks with me and Piper.