The Art of Being Alone

Solitude is distance. Besides the obvious physical solitude, people feel more or less alone depending on the perception of the differences between themselves and the others. It would be a serious epidemic if we all had the same level of awareness of such differences.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been facing the challenge of living with people very different from me. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes I am quite good at it. And sometimes I suffer because of it.

My house is boy predominant. One of the things boys love to do is throwing towels to every corner possible and imaginable. I don’t feel the same inclination or find amusing finding the hand towels (the only we share) out of place most of the time. I solved this conflictive situation by concluding that the available towels worked against me. I bought a large bath towel, divided it in three decent strips and sent it to the alfaiate (tailor) for finishing details. He sent me back three proper towels with respective strings to attach to the hanger. At first the boys were so used to their own ways that they untied the knots just to throw the towels to wherever they landed. With time I won. As I insisted on keeping the towels well attached to the hangers, the trouble turned out to be too much for them.

Weeks ago I noticed that dog Keketh was becoming fatter again. Having in mind that I give her half the food I give to male Thoth, something had to be wrong. As they are full adults, with 4 and 6 respectively, they only eat once a day. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays they have the solid chicken soup chef Tieta cooks for them. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays they eat a good chicken based dog brand. They only eat meat on Sundays, when I prepare pasta and mince. What happens is that Thoth is very selective. He devours my pasta and Tieta’s chicken but leaves most of the brand to dear Keketh. Conclusion, Keketh has been eating double ration 3 times a week. What an upsetting conclusion for someone who thought to have the perfect diet scheme under way. As evident, I had to reduce the brand to 1 or 2 meals a week. Given an opportunity, dogs choose real food and not the best commercial product available.

The worst side of stress is the inability to identify what causes it. I had this image of a quiet life of two, where children didn’t fit. Because life isn’t always what we plan and expect (the differences I was talking about), and also because I moved to Africa, where raising a child is far easier than anywhere else, everything changed.

Children were always attracted to me, especially before having children of my own. It’s an interesting gluing thing. Yet, that attraction didn’t surprise me at all because I still remember the crush I had for a childless couple when I was 6 or 7. I wasn’t expecting another child and much less hearing that child calling me mother. Almost everyday I have to explain to a 3 years old that I am not his mother. He has a very “absent” biological mother. I keep looking into the future and I am afraid that, sooner or later, I have to “adopt” this child as my own. And what worries me most is not the possibility itself, but the conviction that one-day someone is going to take him away just like that. He adds to the already large number of boys in this house and he is quite lively. Most of the time I have to wear braids, since one of his favorite things is to pull my long hair. Ouch!

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2 thoughts on “The Art of Being Alone

  1. My husband and I have three children, but we wanted to have more. Now I see us with six, and I laugh, because when we first married, I thought six would be wonderful (I have four siblings, and liked being part of a large family). Three aren’t ours biologically, yet I find it hard thinking they are not ours. How does the heart make those allowances? I wish I knew…

    1. Yes, six is a nice number. 🙂 I hope to stop at five. I can only imagine how busy you are. I have three employees working for me and life is, well… But people have different expectations. My dream involved only two. I wanted to be the baby of someone and someone to be my baby. As you may guess, the roots of this reside in my childhood. The only absurdly happy couples that I know are childless. On the other hand, the most miserable are also childless. The obvious conclusion is that children are not a decisive factor.

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