My aunt perked up a bit after her birthday party, with all her sisters and other family members arriving to celebrate her ninety-third year of life. I think there is nothing in this world like the company of other people, especially those whose love you never have to question. But if you can't have that, the society of strangers is helpful too. I remember when I was in my twenties before I was married, and the gnawing loneliness sometimes. It felt like deep sadness, and when it descended, I would take my notebook and go and sit in a sidewalk cafe, and spend the whole afternoon there, writing and watching the people come and go. After, I would feel that I had been in the company of others, and it would be easier to go back to my empty apartment and spend the evening alone. Sometimes, I would go to a movie by myself, and it really did give me the sense of being connected to some form of society, just sitting next to strangers, mutually absorbed in the flickering action on screen. It would be easier to be with myself after that. I had assured myself that I was not alone on the planet. It is one of the reasons I love living in New York. You can just walk out your door and feel connected to the surge of humanity, even if you are wandering through it essentially alone. I am both a recluse and social creature. I am glad at this stage to have family around me. I am sure I chose this big extended family of mine in this incarnation so that I would not float off into oblivion, with no threads to bind me. This family I was born into and the one I helped create, they saved me. I believe they really did.
Photo (c) Anastas Michos