It was lonely, sitting at that table by myself, but it was also…tranquil? It was a loneliness I embraced—and undoubtedly somewhat romanticized, as one is wont to do when one is the type to have gloomy Kafka quotes and the final stanza of Dover Beach tacked to the walls of her room. But by embracing the loneliness, I made it mine. It was a choice I was making for myself. I chose to sit out there in the evenings, and I chose when to go inside, and maybe ideally I would have chosen to be sitting there with someone else—but sometimes you have to just sit with yourself. The stillness of those early spring evenings imprinted itself on me, and it has imprinted itself on every early spring evening since then. I welcome these evenings and enjoy them, but always with a certain pensiveness, with the memory of being young and on the brink of many exciting, life-changing days just ahead, but also of being alone and very far away from anything I could call home.
This resonates with me. I’ve not reached her level of peace with the lonely, but I’ve at reached an understanding with it, and sanded off many of its more desperate rough edges.
That’s the thing I’ve found about loneliness: if I run from it, like an marauding plague, it will cut me down. If I breathe, turn, pause, face it, breathe, its power over me is greatly diminished. Which, pleasantly and, in retrospect, ironically, leads to a pathway home.