last night i stood with my fingers poised on the doorknob listening for the footsteps to recede into the room furthest from my own.
i hadn't even realized he was home.
just as i'd been about to open my door, i heard the shuffle of his feet and so paused, hand in the air, breath in throat, waiting
we've entered into a dance, both of us, without ever speaking of it or agreeing to it, with no words at all, we've found a way of living in which we shuffle step, one around the other. never occupying the same space, interpreting the music of closing doors, running water, the sweet hum of the kettle.
i'm not proud of this, this way of living. this absence of hello's or how are you's. this passing as strangers on the street. and we are, we're strangers, tied together only by the loose bond of mutual acquaintances and similar schooling. he had seemed the best choice to fill the third and largest room.
and he was. he is. he's fine.
it's not really about him, you know?
this three-room apartment, this once castle-in-the-sky, this once playground-of-open-space, endless flooring, and hudson views, it's--well, it's not enough now.
priorities have changed. values have shifted.
i want my own space. i'll take a closet, if i have to, but i want it to be mine and mine alone. i want to build a home. i want to recognize all the smells, know the hair on the bathroom floor. i want to be sure of who to blame for the over-stuffed and over-ripe garbage (yes, me). i want to be sure the nicks and scratches littering my favorite bowls were the product of my careless fingers--and until the possibility that they were caused by the man i love, by our growing children, well, until that possibility is more than just hope or passing thought, let me live alone.
i want to know that the next time i share a space with someone the impetus will be love.
this new need is so immediate, so strong. startling, really, in just how physical it is.
i was talking about it at work when another girl said, oh, you're moving, do you need a roommate? in her defense, she had caught the tail-end of the discussion.
no, i replied, taking a deep breath and smiling slowly. i want to live alone.
alone, why would you want that?
i gave her a little laugh, oh you know...
the oh, you know was my kind way of saying if you even have to ask, it's not worth explaining.
perhaps it's age, perhaps it is shifting wants and needs from this thing called life, perhaps it's just part of my makeup. perhaps it's part of my fierce need for independence, product of my believe that space is charged and sacred.
who knows for sure.
all i know for now is, let me live alone. let there be a new adventure, a new experience. for the first time in all my years of new york city living, let me lay claim to a space, let me build a home.