The New Life

As I was deciding in May to discontinue my current relationship, I suddenly became aware of the tiny empty eggshells all over my old neighborhood. I never saw the new birds, but they had left me encouragements. Then I moved to my new apartment and on the second night I was here, the courtyard was full of fireflies. My mother said she hadn’t seen any in Texas for decades. And after it rains here, we get big round snails that crawl across the sidewalks and into the flowerbeds and scare The Dog silly by moving their antennae.

I appreciate the universe going out of its way to reassure me that everything is just as it should be.

It doesn’t feel like that yet, but I am keeping firmly in mind that since I got back here in July 2000 I have only been single for three months, and I have never ever lived alone before. So the disoriented and somewhat sinking feeling I get when returning to the just-me-and-the-dog apartment is not a sign of impending apocalypse. It’s just adjustment.

I feel like I’m going to get caught sneaking out of something, as if there’s a life I’m supposed to be in that doesn’t involve going to the grocery store alone or turning 29 in September with no ring, no house, and no kids. I remember looking at my friends in Boston, who were around 30 and single with no “prospects” on the horizon, and thinking “How curious.” It never occurred to me that I could be there. But I’m not going to wake up and be where I thought I would, since that would require retroactively getting married and having children. That would most likely produce the feeling of “I’ve been in a coma for six years, look how everything’s changed, and now I’m in a made for Lifetime TV movie.” I’ll pass. Many of my friends seem to think I need a pep talk when I say I’m lonely right now, but I’m pretty sure I just need to sit with it.

The lack of children thing does bother me, though, because I need at least one to take down to the Texas Legislature. It’s obvious from their decisions that they’ve never actually met a child, or they would know something about what children need. If I had one to lend (in a carefully supervised setting, of course), it could do a lot for public policy.