The hardest part is going to bed. Not sleeping, not cooking, not working, not coming home from work. The hardest part about being alone without actually being single for me is the act of going to bed. I will binge television shows I don’t care about far into the evening/morning hours to avoid slipping into bed. When I’m on the couch, I’m not consciously thinking about my husband or our situation, but I feel a sense of unease. I could be utterly exhausted; I could be straining to keep my eyes open. But, I would rather suffer from exhaustion than get up, walk into the bedroom of my crummy apartment, and lie alone in my bed. The sheets are too loud and noisy. I’m either too hot or too cold, and the train noises remind me I’m in the heart of downtown. Not the nice part of downtown – the part where a billion dollars was invested in to revive it. The seedy part. The part where you lock your car doors and lock yourself in your apartment during the middle of the daylight hours because ‘ya never know’.
I have a few colorful neighbors that frequent my street. One of them is this man in his 30’s who collects bicycles. And by collect, I mean he steals them. He once told me he has over 30 of them. I’m not sure where he lives, or if he even lives in our neighborhood, but boy does he sure love to ride his bicycles up and down our street. I try to avoid this guy not because he’s violent or threatening, but he’s the type of guy that will not let you exit the conversation at any point. You could be like “I am leaving right now, and I’m done talking to you” and he would still continue carrying on about his bicycles.
Another man lives in his van. I haven’t seen him this winter, but I’m pretty sure the cops made him move. This man goes by a few names: the most interesting being “Jesus Hitler”. The side of his van says “Wolf Man”, but he introduced himself as the previous. I met him when I used to work at the grocery store. He would always come through on the city bus. He walks with a cane and has one giant dreadlock ponytail that touches his bum. He isn’t formidable either – just quiet and strange.
The man I interact with the most is my next door neighbor. Whenever he sees me, he asks me if I can spare $2 for bus fare. He frequently talks about his PO (Parole Officer) and complains about literally anything. He has a pretty cute dog, but he had to get rid of it because his apartment didn’t allow dogs (duh). The last time I saw him, he almost walked into my apartment because he thought he lived there! I redirected him back to his house (next door) and shoveled a path for him because I was outside shoveling over a foot of snow that had fallen. He, too, has a bad knee and needs a cane.
I’m sure there will be a time in my life where I look back nostalgically on this part of my life, but right now I cannot see the silver lining of it. I’m great at living alone for the most part.
At certain points though, I feel as if enough is enough. I force myself up off the couch and into bed. In the morning, I force myself out to face the next day. I am strong. I know that already. But it just sucks to have to be alone all the time.
I wonder what’s harder – raising a bunch of little ones on your own, or not having little ones to come home to.
It’s quiet. The train that rushes by every hour is the only thing that drowns out the furnace’s white noise. I wonder if my life will always look like this? I chose to marry someone in the Army, and someone whose civilian job keeps them away for 6 out of 7 days in the week. Time will tell. But for now, I’ll continue to binge TV shows that don’t matter and write blog posts in order to postpone going to bed another evening alone.