The last time I was alone, was a weekend day, much like this. Except morning, and the clock would be ticking until I wouldn’t be alone anymore. Within a little less than 8 hours, I would share time with someone else. My mind shuts down and I share. I remove myself, let a piece go, and lose another part of me that felt important.
It’s not well understood, time alone. It’s not meant to hurt anybody, but it still does.
I recently discovered an old jazz song called “Baltimore Oriole”. While it was originally composed by Hoagy Charmicael in 1944, I was driving to the train station one day and NPR was playing a version – the first I’d heard – by Bob Dorough in 1957. I was hooked from the first twirl of piano keys that hooked into a jazzy spoken word version of the metaphorical flight of a Baltimore Oriole. I had never quite heard anything like it. I searched the NPR website for a playlist and found it after a few misguided attempts at videos of Bob Dorough in the 80s. This song from 1957 is unique in it’s presentation, beat and voice. Closing in on the Beatnik era, it embraced all the jazz elements with an offbeat tempo that takes a certain voice – and a certain timeframe in history.
I played it for him. Just like any song that’s especially meaningful to me, I started to cry a bit into the song. Raised eyebrows glanced my way, and I defended myself. “It was an emotional day,” I stated. We did have a fight earlier that morning – because he called in sick and I wasn’t happy about it. We took a walk and hashed it out. We both knew he was going out of town for a boys weekend (thank god) and I was supposed to come meet him. But I didn’t want to. ..I’m going. He doesn’t want to be alone.
But I do.
So the compromise is I get the next 5 days to myself. It will be hard, and I will miss him. But we’re always together. I don’t always need to be together.. in fact, I want to be apart. My heart needs space to feel fond of you.
When I write, I don’t need you reading behind my back. That’s partly why I created this blog. So no one I know can read it. So I can write freely without holding back. I’m holding back so much I’m about to explode. I NEED to be alone right now.
So.. 5 days in solitude. The next two days in somewhat real solitude – no work, no friends, just meaningless casual interactions at a store or two and then I’m back home with the dog waiting for the next sleep.