Me and Hickory

About 30 years ago, I was on the city bus in Seattle.  Coming or going to work, I don’t remember.  I do remember the woman who sat next to me that day.  I remember when she got on the bus and she was looking for a seat – our eyes met, and I must have smiled or something because she walked past several empty seats to sit next to me.  And, as she got closer, it was clear that something was wrong.  

Within a matter of minutes she had introduced herself and explained that she liked to ride the bus, to nowhere in particular really.  She said she often rode the bus for hours each day and said it was the only real relief she had found since her husband had died almost a year before.  She talked about his clothes, his habits, their routines as a couple.  Her eyes would quickly well up with tears, and just as quickly sparkle with pleasant emotions from remembering.  And then, she was gone.  Hurriedly getting up and getting off the bus with purpose-driven energy.

After 33 years of marriage, Rick and I have never spent more than a few weeks apart from one another.  And, today he flew back to the U.S. for a month.  As I write this, it seems so silly for me to be feeling the strong emotions I have.  Embarrassed that at age 54 I have never really been on my own.  Embarrassed to be overwhelmed by the prospect of 30 days without him.  Like the woman on the bus, I think about our habits and routines that are as comfortable as an old shoe.  Our unspoken language and experiences known only by the two of us.  Our natural ebb and flow; give and take. Our shared silence and quiet smiles.  Living life with my best friend and lover.  I am haunted by the prospect that if this is what it feels like for him to simply leave for a month, what will it be like for the one who remains when the first one dies?  Because it will happen.  

Today I am alone.  I have decided to sit with my emotions and feel them.  To allow myself to dive into the ocean by myself.  To sit in the bathroom stall at work and cry; to sleep at 4pm; to ache; to smile.

Today, I am alone. 

Dinner for one.


10 responses to “Alone”

  1. This was not what I expected but what a wonderful surprise! I love how you compared your loneliness to a different kind of loneliness- but one just as powerful.


  2. I agree with Carol. I also love that you were able to connect to the memory of the woman on the bus. Had you thought of her before your husband went on his trip?


    1. Going Global: An International Adventure Series... Avatar
      Going Global: An International Adventure Series…

      I have thought about her over the years. And as I’ve aged my thoughts about her have changed from judgement to compassion.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Incredible that that woman has stayed with you. Maybe because one day you would need to reflect on her words and experience and learn from it. Have a brave and insightful month!


  4. Such a raw slice, full of emotion and vulnerability. Thank you for sharing this post and allowing us into the feelings you are having. I hope that this month flies by and that you have lots of fun things to fill your time so you can focus your energy elsewhere for the time being. 🙂


  5. I left this slice feeling that you are incredibly lucky despite your current, difficult situation. To long for your partner the way you have and are, to call him your “lover” and “best friend”, I think we all wish for that kind of deep connection. I like how you included the stranger’s story and how you’re able to connect it with your life story. It’s like you were destined to have that interaction.


  6. Wonderful honesty, and thank you for sharing. It is no doubt a blessing to have a relationship like yours and Rick’s. Few of us like to feel vulnerable, and fewer still are comfortable with sitting down with that feeling and seeing where it leads. May your alone time be a continuation of the voyage of new discoveries you are on, and only enrich the time when you are both back in the same room, sharing those quiet smiles.


  7. Mary McCroskey Avatar
    Mary McCroskey

    You are awesome. My neighbor who lost her husband a couple of years ago said things that were similar to your feelings. All in all we have many reflections of our lives when we’re apart. I am so blessed to read your beautiful blogs. You should become a writer. LOL. 🤗💕🌷🍀


  8. What a captivating story about a random stranger. She probably has no idea that she lingers in your memory.

    I understand your concern for the future. My husband and I met when I was 14, started dating at 16, and have always been together. As I creep toward retirement, it’s not something my mind knows how to even stretch out and speculate about.

    Good luck during your month.


  9. Oh my! What a beautiful piece. I love the image and the correlation to the stranger on a bus that many years ago. I also felt so much understanding in the ending of just sitting with your emotions. It reminds me of my younger days traveling alone and how homesickness can feel and yet at the same time is intensified when your homesick is for a person and not a place. I hope your month goes by quickly and/or meaningfully.


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