These rainy spring mornings aren’t exactly conducive to hopping out of bed. This is nice. There’s something about nice about waking up and not feeling the urgent rush to get out of bed if it’s one of the first sunny weekend days of the year. It can’t be wasted! We may never get another one. Even better to wake up to a sunny weekday, convinced the weather gods are mocking you because you will have to sit in a cubicle all day while all the other kids are outside playing.
What such mornings are conducive to is thinking, but at a leisurely pace. If such a thing can be done. There I am lying in bed enjoying the temperature–just cool enough to have the down comforter up to my waste and my upper body exposed. (When you have massive, heaving pecs such as mine, they need to keep cool.) I’m listening to the rain drops on the air-conditioning units and the birds … and the garbage trucks and delivery trucks and cars honking out on Court Street.
Then it occurs to me that, minus the traffic noise, I lived on a Court Street in another time and place and spent mornings like this. I was back in Louisiana for grad school. The house belonged to my stepdad’s aunt, who’d recently passed away. Split down the middle, an old confirmed bachelor lived in the other half. I had the half with three bedrooms, a massive dining room and a living room. You know–because my pecs needed all that space. It sat on Court Street, in the middle of Opelousas, and was surrounded by flowering shrubs (camellias and azaleas and roses) that survived despite no one taking care of them anymore. There was a magnolia tree as well. I don’t know that I appreciated these things.
That spring was my first spring single and living alone in my entire life. My undergrad girlfriend and I had split up. It was mostly my doing, but I don’t know if you’d have known that by the way I was carrying on. Drinking, carousing, not doing my school work. But some morning’s I’d miraculously find myself lying in bed without a crushing hangover, listening to the rain falling on the leaves and the air-conditioning units. And I’d stare at the ceiling and think deep thoughts, such as “What the fuck?”
Sure, I was newly single after a four-year relationship–my first real relationship as a matter of fact. But at that point I’d been single most of my life. There were issues surrounding that, to be sure. The bigger issue was the solitary living. That, I’d never done. At the time, I didn’t know how I felt about it. I was pretty sure I wasn’t crazy about it. I wouldn’t have told anyone–pride and all–but getting out of Opelousas wasn’t the sole reason for moving to Lafayette and finding a roommate. (Also, the house was big and old and scary.)
I didn’t realize then that living alone (and being single) isn’t a curse or a prison sentence. It’s an opportunity. I didn’t live alone again until I first moved to Brooklyn in 2000. That was a long stint. I learned to like it. A lot.
Of course, it always helps when you’re making that decision independent of a relationship. Whether you’re dumping someone else or getting dumped, suddenly finding yourself living alone — forget the “single” status — can cause quite a bit of psychic shock. In that case, it gets really hard to see it as anything other than something be inflicted on you.
Either way, you settle into it. Or back into it. Whatever the case may be.
And you find yourself lying in bed listening to the rain thinking that you’re not as delusional as you have been for the past couple of months. Or maybe you are, but it’s a better kind of delusional, one not based on false hope and too much booze and/or Ambien. Hell, it could be as simple as that. You went to bed without either of those and actually fell asleep, dealt with the weird dreams based on “Lost” and didn’t wake up with some crazy chemical hangover.
So what if it is just that? You listen to the rain and the birds and the garbage trucks, tell your pecs good morning, then hop out of bed and face the world.
Or, you know, blog about it.