Tonight after many nights I am alone in bed. D is away for the weekend.
This is the perfect setting to be lonely and alone. My body is used to curling up with his. His arms around me. His breath punctuating mine. Tonight the bed is cold. The covers too big. The pillows too many.
I luxuriate in space. I sleep diagonally. I cozy up to all the pillows. Stick a foot out of the covers. And just one finger. I curl and uncurl. I stretch.
And I know. That no matter what, no matter where, I will never be lonely or alone so long as I have myself. Myself to hug. Myself to cuddle. Myself to curl up with.
I learnt this some years ago. Some years ago when I was feeling lost and lonely, friendless and misunderstood, frighteningly, deafeningly, horribly, astoundingly, crazily, funnily, surreally, alone. In the midst of family and friends I found myself to be an island, in contradiction of what John Donne had said. He was wrong, I thought. Or maybe he was talking only about men. Because it is entirely and completely possible to be an island unto oneself. Maybe we were just talking about different levels of connections, different stratas altogether. But in that lonely space I learnt about myself. And happily enough, I learned to like myself. To be friends with myself. I learned, then, to love myself.
Have you ever experienced a film-like montage? Where images of your life come crashing together, tumbling all over each other to make some sense in the end? If ever that happens to me I know at least one of the images that will wollop me over the head: Sister Maria saying "You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else." Grey skirt, grey shirt with a white collar. Grey habit. Wrinkles worked deep into her face. Oblong glasses framing her eyes. Standing on the daiis for the daily school assembly. I see her now. "You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else."
Tonight D is away for the weekend and I am all alone in bed.
I miss him.
But thankfully I don't miss myself.