coming home to an empty house

Last night…

I had a great night out — fun times and great conversations with truly amazing friends. I love nights like this!

And, at the end of the night, I came home to a child-free home…a home that seems too silent, too empty. A part of me knows I should relish this. I should take some sort of pride and joy in coming home to a place that I own (I mean, well, there is that bit with the bank…) and being able to do what I choose with my time. And I do relish a break from parenting…

Yet I can’t help but wish that I was coming home with someone or to someone special. For me, there is no great joy for me specific to being a single woman. Don’t get me wrong:  I am more than fine. I am proud of my own accomplishments. I am happy with recent choices and, by and large, with my life. I am strong and my life is full. And yet there’s a sense of longing on nights like this…I still believe it could be so much better with someone to share it all.

This is not a new feeling for me. I recall a time in my early twenties when an older work colleague told me about his younger sister, a thirty-year-old lawyer and single woman, who had just bought her first home and burst into tears as he helped her move. She was filled with melancholy by this milestone. At the time, we were both flabbergasted that a successful and strong woman should feel anything but pride at her accomplishments.

And, yet, only a few years later, I met the same milestones with feelings of pride and accomplishment at my successes, countered by my own feelings of ambivalence and yearning. When one does something fantastic, one wants someone special with whom to share the experience.

Of course, as I know from experience, it could also be so much worse…I could be coming home with someone with whom I’ve just fought (as I did several times) or coming home to a stressful environment (which was especially true when we ceased fighting and, indeed, talking). Certainly neither of these situations brought much comfort, either.

And so I fill my own heart, go about living a rich and wonderful life, and leave space for the possibility that someone who has also filled his own heart, who is also living his own wonderful life, and I will one day find each other and decide to come home to each another.


About 10 months ago…

I was chatting with a colleague at an after-hours event, when he asked me how things were going. He was divorced, and I knew he was asking about my personal life.

“Ah, it’s all right,” I moaned. “There is light at the end of the tunnel.”

He looked at me and asked, “Have you ever been afraid you’d always be alone?”

“No,” I replied. “But thank you for introducing that suggestion into my impressionable mind.”

“I remember one night when I was home alone, shortly after I’d moved out . . . it suddenly dawned on me that I might be alone forever. It was a terrifying realization.”

Truthfully, this thought had never occurred to me. As I explained to my colleague, I have my children and my friends, and I always just assumed that life was going to be better once he was gone. I mean emotionally better, lighter. How could I possibly fear being alone when I was lonelier in my marriage than I can ever remember feeling before?

Sure, I had plenty of fears — I had been terrified of telling our children, our close-knit neighborhood and family members. Being alone wasn’t one of them…yet.