A Woman Alone Is A Dangerous Thing

A breakup prompts her to consider her appreciation of solitude. 

by Luellen Smiley • More.com Member { View Profile }

Erasmus says a woman left alone is a dangerous thing. Thoughts traveling through the empty theater of the mind are unmanageable, and remedies to drown out a disturbing imagination are varied. Some talk to their cats, some eat, while others use the phone and computer to keep connected. I scold myself for being alone too much.

 Leaving home is an effort. There are rooms of photographs, books, and old films that do not grow tiresome. The beloved sunken tub for blissful lilac baths, and an assortment of musical tastes, and candles.

At the desk sit the journal and a stack of unfinished short stories to submit to the big world. And between the walls of the rooms there is silence. This kindly and complex comfort has been absent from my life. Silence is a vacation to a discontented relationship, lifestyle, and a path of regret. 

Since as long as I can remember, I preferred silence or music to the drumming of too much interaction based on hollowed conversation. I am talking about my own chattering that stems from anxiety, fear, and a restless imagination. 

Activities around the gallery are interrupted by the cats escaping from the garden to the front porch. Housekeeping chores that add little stimulation to an active mind, entitle me to run up and down the stairs, searching for, and replacing things. The first few days, I sat and loitered into the dreamscape. I watched the birds take flight over the rooftop, the apples fall from the tree, the spider caught in a web between the window and the screen, and the streaks of light and color mutate in the sky. I watched the street traffic from the porch, the moon and the clouds molding evening, and it felt like I was the camera, framing everything for the first time. The detailed expression of people walking by, the way they hold the leashes of their dogs, or hang their head into some private discussion.

I have noticed the inward struggle older people walk with in one moment and then turn my attention to the tour group of assimilated success among 20 women carrying large, full tote bags. 

Life has been so rapid, the adjustments so quick and necessary, that I had forgotten to look at my surroundings. When you live with two men — one a lover and one a best friend — there are buckets of precious moments, commitments, promises, feasts and moments of fury. 

The startling beauty of Santa Fe, partially due to the light and how it illuminates color, is a sedative. By the second week, I woke from this transcendental state of reckoning, that once again I am alone.  The man I loved has left. I sat down to spinach and sun-dried tomato Fritata and a large glass of red wine. My mind was settled, and my heart was beating evenly. I will try to continue to break bread with my blessings and myself. 

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