The Lie I Used to Tell
It occurs to me at odd times.
Like when I’m walking down the basement stairs with my bright red laundry tub resting on my right hip, my left hand clutching the rickety railing.
I think, I could fall down these stairs and hit my head on the cement floor. Or break my hip. I could be down here for days, weeks even, before anyone would notice I hadn’t been on Facebook. Or that I missed my hair appointment. Or I wasn’t answering my phone.
I could end up like Terri’s mom.
She fell down her basement stairs and broke her hip. And because she, like me, lives alone and doesn’t have a lot of friends stopping by, she was in her basement for almost a week before someone found her. Weak, dehydrated, and covered in her own urine. At 87 years old, she didn’t have enough upper body strength to pull herself up the stairs, knock a phone off its cradle and call 911.
These thoughts float through my mind as I contemplate the very real possibility that I may live the rest of my life alone. Solo. Unpartnered. Uncoupled.
What Are My Chances?
I’ve been out of love and living alone for over 6 years now. Just me and my two cats. And with each passing year, as I meet nice men I could never adore or unavailable men who drive me wild, I have to wonder. I’m 62. Single. And very, very picky.
What are my chances of finding a smart, articulate, funny man with enough self-awareness to peak my interest and enough fire to make me flush but not flinch from the heat?
Friends used to tell me, “Oh, don’t be silly! You’ll find someone.”
But they don’t say that any more.
Besides… I’m not interested in Someone. I’m only interested in The One. The Last One. The One with whom I have such an undeniable, mystical connection and mutual fascination that I’d gladly fling aside my singlehood and become an “us.”
Because the truth is… I’m good alone.
I enjoy my own company. My own silliness. And lately, the more time I have alone, the more I crave. I’ve fallen in love with my unshared, uninterrupted relationship with each single moment of my life. I love not having anyone present to question my choices or ask my opinion or doubt my sanity when I spend way too much money on giant bags of unsalted peanuts so I can feed the squirrels every morning.
I require quiet mornings of tea-making and journal-writing as I listen to the soft, lickidy-lick sound of my two cats lapping up their breakfast of shredded chicken. It’s such a sweet, happy sound. One I might not hear if there was someone lumbering around upstairs, or running the water for a shower, or asking me if I’ve seen his reading glasses.
I don’t want a man in my house. But I do want a man in my life. The right man. My soul man.
I ain’t lying no more
This is the lie I used to tell. To girlfriends, mostly.
I would lie and say it’s perfectly fine with me if I spend the rest of my life alone without ever meeting and falling in love with my last man. If my two cats continue to be my only bedfellows and if the most stimulating conversations I hear are the ones on the West Wing Weekly podcast, I’ll be happy with that.
But that’s not true. Not anymore.
I want a close, connected relationship with a man I love. I feel as if I was made to spoil someone rotten and to have someone spoil me. Every cell of my body and slice of my soul hungers to be naked and entwined with a man who can dive into a physical and emotional intimacy that leaves us both dazed, drained and breathless. I’m ready for a connection so deep, strong, and intoxicating it leaves me stunned, breathless and wide-eyed. A love that is both comforting and edgy. A love that keeps me awake and aware and questioning what I know while at the same time holding me in the sweetest certainty.
And on days like today, it feels as if he’s only a breath away. That this extraordinary love is as certain as sunrise, as inevitable as death.