Home Alone

Posted: June 28, 2008 in Uncategorized

I have the house to myself for the weekend.  Scotti’s gone to Boulder for a conference and I’ve sent Michael off to stay with friends… he is quiet, mostly stays downstairs until we’ve gone to bed, someone I know mainly as the small mess he leaves in the kitchen every night.  A subtext to our lives, or a warning:  we give things away too easily, Scotti and I, only coming to know how much we’ve needed them after they are gone.  Michael doesn’t take much from us any longer; he’s stopped stealing food, at least.  But the difference between being alone, and being alone except for the guy in the basement you rarely see, is greater than you’d think it would be.

It’s not his fault, but he has cured me of need to open my house to the homeless.  We never imagined he’d be here two years.  But once you’ve taken responsibility for someone, abandoning it is very different than never having taken up the burden, so he’s here until his disability claim is settled.

I could feel the difference within minutes of Scotti pulling away; he’s going with a female colleague, and she came to pick him up in a rented car.  She must travel quite a bit; if he had been going alone, he would have taken his car or had me drive him.  The idea of renting a car just to travel to and from the airport wouldn’t have occurred to either of us. 

I lived alone for many years before I married Scotti.  Even when I did not, I almost always lived with someone in a place that was mine; if one of us had to go, it would almost always have been the other person.  But this house is his.  We chose it together, but before we were married his lawyer drew up papers making certain I know it would be his if there were ever a divorce.  So I am cautious in my love for this house. 

Still, the first thing I do once he’s out the door is start to clean it in that intimate way that’s only possible when no one else is around.  I have finished the bathroom; scrubbed the difficult place where the back of the toilet connects to the floor, bleached the grout between the tiles in the shower, emptied out the medicine cabinet and dusted the shelves.  I am using one of the good glasses, one of the ones from Blenko that my sister gave me as a wedding gift, to drink water.  Later, I will cook a dinner for myself of things that no one else likes:  curried cauliflower and peas, maybe, or tofu with soy sauce and green onions.

I can’t say why it is different that Scotti is out of town instead of just at work, but it is.  And while I’m not glad he’s gone, I’m also not sorry to be alone in the house for a few days. 

  1. This has a spareness and honesty to it that I find striking.

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