I’ve been very far below the weather the last few days with a nasty chest cold, and thus, incommunicado. Many soupy thoughts have burbled around in my head in the phlegmmy haze, some deep, some shallow. Yesterday, in bed for most of the gray day, as Ben was upstairs painting, I flashed back to my single life with little fondness. (This is what happens when you have too much time to think, I guess, which I generally don’t, lately, which leads to a whole separate secret, though, which is that thinking is overrated and in my case leads mostly to despair and hopelessness.) Ben would take breaks and bring me cough syrup and tea, and I caught up on some shows I taped during the week and napped on and off. Anyway here’s my secret. All those single years, the longer I stayed single, the more I got used to inhabiting a largeish space all my own and all devoted to me, all about me, all me-centric all the time, and the more I came to conclude that if I were ever going to be in a relationship it would be an unending struggle, ongoing compromise, and a continual effort to “communicate.” To make someone understand me.
I was wrong.
And not just because it isn’t all about me. I did have another pet theory, though, tucked far in the back of my mind, that the above speculation was wrong, and that if I were to meet the right person, it wouldn’t be a struggle at all, and that, my friends, thankfully turned out to be true. So that is my secret for the day, if you are single and holding out. It doesn’t have to be hard to be real and good and true. (Which is not to also say that if it is hard it isn’t also real and good and true, since I can only speak for myself, but for me when it was hard, it was just hard, and it was almost always hard, which is why I thought it had to be hard, which is why I held out, because it was hard enough just being with myself, which is so totally silly, thinking about it now, because it’s of course much less hard to be with someone else, unless of course that’s only true because the person is Ben, which is possible, but I also think that if you don’t have a Ben, that doesn’t mean your Ben isn’t out there.) Yesterday, during the only part of the day that I was out of bed, Ben and I read the paper, and he said he was going to go to the studio for a while to work on something, and I said Ok, and for whatever reason, it occurred to me that that’s our whole relationship. Someone says something and the other one says ok. Ben said, Honey, I don’t like folding the towels in thirds, and I said, Ok, you don’t have to. Okay well it’s not our whole relationship, there’s the talking and the going to see art and the private-like stuff, but you see what I mean. No struggle. We struggle only with ourselves. It took being in a relationship, I guess, for me to see what a relationship was, or could be, and now that I’m in one, a lot of stuff that I thought mattered, towels folded in thirds and what have you, doesn’t matter so much.
Perhaps this is not as deep to you as it seems to me in my clogged-head state, but today it’s all I’ve got.