Friday, February 18, 2011

You've Got Mail

The wildly waving palm tree taunting me outside my window reminds me of a night long ago on Saint Thomas. I was alone, something that seemed natural and expected at the time. Alone in a foreign place, with no ability to save myself, defend myself, or identify with the world. No ability and no need. I was there, and I felt fully and wholly comfortable with my aloneness.

It was crazy weather. Shops shut down at the end of day, cruise ships lit up and disembarked the tiny bay, and one by one all the little sparkling streetlights turned off and the city became purple and maroon with the oncoming storm. Sudden rain overwhelmed the main streets, wind tossing palm fronds about, and thunder and lightning lit up the moon shaped curve of the shore and city.

I stood out on the balcony overlooking the bay, watching the storm approach, live, and pass. I remembered where I had just been. Solo on the open ocean, sailing to distant places with only maps and strange digital readouts to keep me safe. With strangers on strange boats, on strange islands where the native men asked me why I wouldn’t dance with them in the darkness. I laughed and danced, not scared in the least.

The palm tree outside waved at me wildly doing its own little island dance. I was by myself in a frightening place and time but not frightened in the least. It struck me then, that I should be afraid to be a single girl alone in a foreign place. I should have been.

Today I am alone again. It’s something that seems foreign and unsure. It seems unnatural every second, every breath. How could it change so much, that the dangerous comfort of being a solo world traveler morphed into the skittish jumping of a recluse scared by incoming mail in the mail slot.

The danger of being alone is magnified. It’s ridiculous in size, and in capacity to send me into paralyzing moments of self-doubt.

I shall ball into a knot with the blanket set to 7.

I’ll be back to tell you more once that dangerous man with my mail goes away.

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