It was late. A band was still playing but I was the only one on the dance floor. In between songs I would ran about the room, collecting cups and plates, throwing away trash. Almost everyone who was still there was actually on stage, except maybe Odette who was fast asleep on the couch. It was a good evening.
And yet it was a complex evening for me too. As it wound down I felt myself grow grouchier. Sure I was touched by the magic but I was tired, my body ached from two days of cooking and a full night of dancing. The refreshments had left me a little fuzzy too and I found myself being impatient, snappy and downright grumpy.
But there was another reason too. Even in the swirl, as I packed off Max with neighbors and sent him off to a sleepover, even as I danced with one friend and then another, a feeling bubbled up from a place deep inside. I couldn’t name it then–I didn’t have the perspective to be able to do it. It felt so dissonant compared to the rest of the evening. But now, as it lingers I can call it by name. Loneliness.
It is such an odd thing to feel lonely in the midst of my beautiful community. But it happens from time to time. It is the moment when I realize that I am raising my child alone–without the one person who loves him as much as I do. It happens sometimes when I am dropping him off at school, or when I am wrapping Christmas presents. It is the moment when I so desperately need to be seen for who I am and I find that no one quite gets it (at least the way Juan would try). It is the moment when I am dancing and realize I have no partner. On most days my community stands in so well–loving Max, helping me keep it all together, being a place where we can laugh, and chat and share–but there are just some roles that they cannot fill. But still it is so strange and uncomfortable to be in a room the people who love you best and to feel so damn alone.
Odette and I talk a lot about this feeling. These days 95% of the time we can hold it together, but sometimes, the smallest thing–a snide comment from a friend, a misunderstanding, a disappointment can open up the whole damn pandora’s box of emotion and suddenly everything seems so utterly complicated and sad. Suddenly there is only one factor that matters. I am alone. And I don’t know how I am going to keep doing it by myself. But I do…and I will.
Tomorrow I will wake up and the feeling will have dissipated. The sun will rise, sweet sweet sleep will cradle me. I will realize that I am only alone in a few things and yes, we all feel alone from time to time–even in the midst of a near perfect marriage. I will wander to the mirror, look with love upon a woman, strong–if not entirely always secure and then turn and do what needs to happen next. And love will carry us after all. It usually does.