I think the word "loneliness" is one of the hardest to utter.
I'm told it goes hand in hand with "divorce" "menopause" "empty nest." I'm still married, I'm not (yet, I don't think) going through menopause but yes, both my children don't live at home, but my husband and I have been apart for close to four years and though we are great friends, we lead our own lives.
Tonight on the phone I spoke to a friend of mine who suffers as I do. I know this because she pisses me off. She goes for long periods of time without calling me and I inevitably taking this personally. I'm wrong. She's worked all her life. She was a studio head. She is very, very smart. And she's not happy when she's not working. And so, like me, she hides sometimes. She stays in bed all day and reads books. Tonight I got her on the phone and I was happy about it. She has a deep, calm, purring voice and like me, she has Norwegian roots. We think of ourselves as tough girls. I told her why I fired my client who won three Oscars. She told me why she got back together with her husband.
And then I told her something I've never told anyone else, until today. I said "I'm lonely." I lived my whole life with someone else. And it's been four years since he's been gone, and I miss having a nice warm body in my bed. And I broke up with my lovely English boyfriend before Valentine's day, and he didn't live here anyway, and the truth is, I hole up here. I work. I sleep. I eat. I walk my dogs. And I'm lonely. And tonight, for the first time ever, as I was making pasta with pine nuts and cauliflower and parsley and reading Joan Didion's recipes, and talking to my lovely lumpy lady, who is 14 and a dalmatian, and very very lame on her front foot, I thought of a good idea, stirring garlic into the onions and cauliflower. I thought for the first time in nearly four years that I should call up my ex-husband and ask him if we should try again.
Now I know that we love each other. And I know that we're not compatible. And I know that he has a lovely girlfriend. And I know that there is a man in England that I'm mad about even though it's over. (I know that I love him madly despite the fact that he is a flakey, crazy, excuses-laden chap, hopelessly devoted to his singleton-dom.) But just for a moment, I thought, wouldn't it be nice to feel some relief from this terminal loneliness? And I do love the father of my children. He is a good man, a kind man, a man who buys excellent Christmas presents. But, jeez, what is that about?
What is this loneliness that creeps in at the time of year when we should be feeling hopeful? Spring solstice is only a few weeks away. Every morning I hear the birds singing jubilantly in the canyon. The grass is the greenest it will be this year. The trees are budding. I should be in someone's arms, drinking it all in, feeling optimistic.
I long, I long to be wrapped in warm arms. I long to make a cup of tea at six o'clock in the morning for someone other than myself. I know this is temporary. I know that this will pass. I know I must stick to my list of mental health fixes. (See the photo below. I'm amused, and must thank my ex-boyfriend for pointing out that I said THE nature, instead of nature, but you get the point.)
But I'm going to say it anyway. Although I am rich with friends, and I have a thriving business and clients I adore, I am lonely. (No disrespect, dog and horse friends, you've been wonderful). I'm also amused by it. People think because I am jolly and English and usually very optimistic that I'm always out and about and on the town. This could not be further from the truth.
This is what I'd like: to lay out under the stars somewhere without light pollution with the dogs and a nice warm jersey, and a nice man who understands what a nut I am and doesn't care. That's it. And maybe he'd be holding my hand.