"Oooh! You have got to meet my friend's cousin's neighbor's ex-lawn guy. He's the sweetest guy."
"You should start going to the noon meeting at the Clayton library. All the hot guys go there."
"I know you may not be ready right now....buuuuuuut, when you arrrrrrre, I have the perrrrrrrfect guy for you!"
People seem more uneasy with my alone-ness than I do. It would be one thing if I spent my days curled in a little ball under the kitchen table yelling out, "Whyyyyyyy? Why, God, whyyyy?" But, I'm a fully-functional, wholly-happy, want-for-nothing kind of gal. In fact, I keep my flirter under wraps. I don't scan the line at Starbucks for the good looking guys and then check out their ring fingers. I don't use time spent stopped at red lights to eyeball the car on the left. Or the right. I didn't pull out those mini skirts from the 1990s (assuming they'd still fit) and decide to take my stuff on the road. I don't go to bars. I don't go to clubs. I don't whore up my hair and pad my bra.
I'm no black widow, looking to reel in some unsuspecting man and chomp his head off.
I'm thirty-seven. I don't have kids. I live alone. And that's okay with me right now.
Don't feel sorry for me. Don't scan the room for me. Here's what you don't see in my alone-ness.
You don't see me dancing through the house at 6:15 a.m., beat-thumping songs blaring from my tiny radio speakers. You don't see me stopping in the middle of washing my Starbucks travel mug to suddenly turn and face the dog, showing her my break dancing moves. You don't see me sitting on the sofa before bed, journal open, writing everything I can think to be grateful for that day. Or on my knees, by the side of the bed, checking in with my homie, God. You don't hear me rapping "take-em, take-em, take these mutha-f*@&*n' defects! take-em, take-em, take these mutha-f*@&*n' defects!" and picturing God laughing till he gets a belly ache. You don't see me shaking hands, it works when you work it, and hugging friend after friend after friend. I pity the establishment that will try to hold my funeral. I am incredibly loved.
You don't see in my head, when I ache to be held, and get to snuggle up to this gay friend or that gay friend, knowing he's no more turned on that if his arms were wrapped around a tree.
You don't see me walking my dog on a beautiful clear night when I decide to lay down in the middle of the park just because I can and no one's looking. Or twirl enough to make my skirt flare out. Or raise my face to the moon and close my eyes, letting the shadows beneath my lids guide my way.
You don't see me at a restaurant alone, watching people tv. Watching couples on first dates. Watching couples arguing. Watching business men talking charts and percentages and nonsense. You don't see me playing with my food, scraping faces into the tamarind sauce left on my plate after all of the rice pulao is gone.
You don't see me stumbling across a photo, here we are, smiling. In love. Eyes bright and skin tanned. You don't see me feel the loss and still know we're doing the right thing.
You don't see me right now, sitting outside on a patio on what very well may be the most beautiful day imaginable. I'm taking it all in. Little pink flowers on twiggy bushes that are weaving around a waist-high black metal fence. A clear blue sky that makes me squint when I look at it. A breeze that undoes my work each time I tuck my hair behind my right ear. My skin is warm and smells like me. Of course, I sniffed it.
To my right is a man and a woman with their cute little scruffy dog. Their conversation is easy. Comfortable. It's apparent that they've been together for some time. They don't gaze at each other and giggle the way that new lovers do. There isn't a palpable feeling of attraction. It's just two people enjoying each other. If that's how all relationships end up, I've got that in spades. Right now.
So, make your lists, if you want. Take note of how perfect this guy or that guy is for me. Picture us holding hands at the movies, or laughing over coffee. Picture us in a long embrace at the end of the evening. Picture us going to our respective houses, internal butterflies flitting about, smiles plastered on our faces. Picture anything you want.
But know for now that I'm completely happy.