Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – March 7, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – March 7, 2004 – Well, so much for that. Another successful dinner party. The guest list was simple – my brother Eric, his wife Dorothy, a high school friend Donna and her guy Landy.
Everyone arrived in timely fashion. I was ready. Wine and munchies by the fireplace. The conversation heated up, laughter ensued, appetites were whetted. Augie and Ziggy – my fur sons – were retired to the den so the grown-ups could dine in peace.
Eric, Donna and I knew each other from high school days and Donna brought a couple of school year books with her. Landy and Donna had never met Dorothy, but it was a good group, not a shy one in the mix. We reminisced about high school, the beach, growing up in a small town. We looked at high school pictures and guffawed. Dorothy and Landy recalled their teenage years. Donna told us that she and Landy had just bought a new house and moved in together.
We talked about how each of the couples had met. I nodded and smiled, all the while feeling a tad out of the loop. I’m single and didn’t have a “date” and at times like this I’m keenly aware that I’m alone. As I sat there I wondered if either of these couple thought about how I might be feeling. I thought “no” it probably never crossed their minds. Not that they are unkind – they simply take their ‘coupledom’ for granted.
They don’t go about the process of living alone – there is someone to share the load. They are not alone when they’re sick, tired, over-whelmed, depressed, making major decisions, busy or lonely. I remember having dinner one night with Eric when Dorothy was out of town on business. He said to me, “I don’t know how you manage by yourself. I could not live alone”. He said it with such sincerity that I was a little nonplussed. Sometimes, I don’t know how I cope either, but manage I do because I have no choice.
Dinner was delicious and the conversation continued to be generally light and lively. We had a couple of trips down grouchy lane as the evening progressed, but nothing that wasn’t redeemed in short order. By midnight, yawns replaced wide-eyed enthusiasm and it was time for everyone to leave.
I shut the front door and leaned against the wall and thought’ “Thank God that’s over”. I still had to clean up and as I did so I realized why I don’t entertain very much. It’s a couple’s world. It’s not that I’m desperate to be part of a couple, and I’d sooner be by myself than part of an unhappy, unhealthy duo just to belong socially, but I sometimes feel lonely when surrounded by ‘paired’ people.
I don’t know enough single people, so my entertaining is inevitably with couples. There – that’s it. This is very hard for me to admit. I see my yearning for close, intimate contact as a weakness. My tough social mask is always firmly in place. I’ve been alone for a long time, perhaps I will always be a single person. But here’s a novel thought – I need some new, single friends.
I certainly need to let my guard down a little, and open my heart up to the infinite possibilities in the world if I’m ever going to expand my life. I’m a tad blue today, nothing I won’t get over, but a little down nonetheless. The conundrum of ‘entertaining’ or the lack thereof in my life understood. Not solved, but acknowledged. Perhaps a first step forward or maybe not.