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August 18, 2006

Tumped over.

I am average.

I don't mean that as a self-deprecating comment, I am pleased as pie to be average, a woman who is the average height (five feet four inches) and average weight (well, plus thirty pounds, maybe) and average income, average driving habits, average vices, perhaps a more-than-average backside but whatever, and yet there is one average I never counted on. (Being divorced, of course.)

These days I think a lot about loving. You'd suppose that based upon my recent history I might think a lot about self-advancement or fun places to vacation or Getting Back At Him or should I lose weight? But mostly I think about loving.

I forget that for many women quiet nights alone are a luxury, when your spouse is away on business and the kids mysteriously, magically end up at camp or a sleepover, and you have a whole evening of unbroken silence and it is a glorious thing. I forget this because every night is unbroken silence unless I actively make it full with plans and of course, that isn't always plausible.

I'm not complaining.

Every evening just before I fall asleep I list to myself and whatever heavenly ear might be listening the very things I am grateful for: my family, friends, good health, three and a half happy cats, a great job, presence of mind not to stalk my ex, my successes however small. Then I ask God to bring love into my life, and I don't even know what I want that love to look like or be, just that I need some love. Something small and kind and true. Luckily my God can decipher wine-drunk pleas.

I think we often confuse the need for love with the idea that we don't appreciate the things we've got. I do appreciate them. I am thankful. I am just so very alone that sometimes I overflow with it, inversely proportional to those times you desperately need your alone time, just need some damn peace and quiet. If it's not in balance, you know. Too much of one thing and not enough of another.

Of course there's no use in bemoaning a thing like loneliness because you know that life is a law of averages and we hope to reach stasis at some point, a decent mix of quiet and together whatever that may be. Maybe the only way to appreciate a thing is to go without it for a while. I complain anyway, even if just to myself because I have told myself often enough that "complaining burns calories," so I wonder why the hell I'm not twelve pounds soaking wet.

Small things really, that's what you miss. The cruel trick of being human is that you sometimes get maudlin and reminisce about things that weren't that great at the time. But Lord, the feeling of getting in bed beside someone warm and smelling of sleep, the tiniest happiness of walking through a door after a long day and knowing someone is there waiting for you. The idea that after a very long, hard week you couldn't just get in your 1995 Jeep and fill it up with gas and drive, drive all night to a Waffle House and smoke cigarettes like you never quit and eat bad steak for breakfast and drive on down to El Paso or Denver or wherever the hell you end up, no, you can't do it because someone (anyone) would miss you that night. That is something you can't count on. You could be in Rosarita by dawn and no one would be the wiser.

Sounds like paradise to some. Makes you wonder what average lonely is. Makes you wonder when (if) it ends.

Posted by laurie at August 18, 2006 12:01 AM