Tuesday, 20 March 2007

After the kids go to sleep -- then what?

Dinner was over, the kitchen was clean, the laundry was done. Both of my girls were sound asleep, and the television was silent. The sound of the dishwasher scrubbing away the remains of the day was the only sound in the apartment. From the open patio door came the whosh of an occasional car passing by.

I turned on the stereo, choosing a station that plays quiet love songs, and sat down to read my new Elizabeth George mystery. At last, after a long day at work, some down time.

But my relaxation was short lived. The songs that played reminded me of lost love and certain-to-come-true dreams that had somehow vanished. I put down the book and let the memories wash over me. People I never see or even talk to anymore filled my thoughts. I pictured some in far-away homes, in far-away cities, some near-by but still out of reach. And suddenly the apartment went from a sancuary of quiet and peace to a prison. I paced from room to room, wandering in and out of the kitchen, living room, dining room, my bedroom and then back again. I picked up my phone and scrolled through the list of contacts, but it was too late to call any of them. I paced some more, wishing there was someone to stay with the girls while I went for a drive. Wishing there was someone to sit with in that quiet, clean apartment with the vanilla candles burning, and the soft music and the tropical evening breeze.

I do okay during the day. Work keeps me busy, and I am surrounded by people and lights and computers and calls from clients. In the evening, I focus on my girls, and making dinner and homework and household chores. On those rare nights when there is something I enjoy on television, I often fall asleep before the timer shuts off the tv.

But on so many nights like last night, when the silence descends, and the music tells stories of love lost and love never found, it's so hard to be alone and inside.

I've been told over and over that I'm supposed to be modern and self-sufficient and not need a man to be happy. But on nights like last night, I can't help but wonder....did the person who made up those rules ever spend her nights alone in a silent, candle-lit apartment?

No comments: