When are our best years? So many in this society seem to think it is their youth, or their twenties. In my twenties, I lived alone for seven years-as completely alone as you can without disappearing into the mountains of Tibet. I lived friendless; if I didn't have to go to work to pay the bills, I would have never left my tiny studio. I didn't wash my clothes, my hair, or myself, sometimes for weeks. I had no family nearby-truthfully, I did not want them to see me, ashamed of how empty I was.
I am thankful I have no taste for alcohol, given the heavy hand of alcoholism that holds my father so firmly, that eroded my parents' marriage and my own relationship with him. Once, craving interaction, I made an effort to get dressed up and went to a local single's bar - and stopped outside the door. I was afraid no one would speak to me, and afraid someone would. I was equally terrified of both outcomes. So I went home, hung my pretty dress up in the closet, and never wore it again.
I did try to date, through personal ads. It was usually ten minutes over coffee, until they suddenly remembered a "pressing appointment" and had to leave - if they showed up at all. I always blamed myself, of course - was I too talkative? Too quiet? Too short? Too plump? (actually, the irony is I never wore a smaller size than when I was depressed and not eating.) Was it the scars of my turbulent adolescence I still wore on my cheeks? Or my premature gray hair I refused to dye? To be honest, I see now I often rejected them myself - I was caught in the conundrum of wanting companionship yet unwilling to sacrifice my privacy, my personal space to allow someone in. I guess I was more in love with loneliness.
Then I met someone - a gentle giant with a sweet smile, warm brown eyes, a generous heart, a welcoming soul. He too had been ignored, been dismissed, been devalued. And, maybe, I needed those seven years of solitude to sharpen my sight, to see the buried treasure in this man that others had overlooked. He has given me a home, a family - he makes me feel secure, feel protected, that, no matter what, everything will be alright. He is why I smile, why I laugh, why I like myself again. He is my happy ending.
Now, in my forties, I am living my best years - and I am lucky enough to know it.
Copyright © Michelle Faulkner | Year Posted 2018