I went out by myself yesterday. I do not do this often, at least beyond the local grocery stores and the post office. I hadn’t noticed, really, that it had been so long. When did my life become so circumscribed by a five mile circumference? I didn’t notice, not until I was in Target, alone.
It felt ridiculously liberating.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not prevented from going out alone, or even discouraged from it. I simply … don’t. Perhaps it is a manifestation of my discomfort with driving coupled by our home — where I can’t step out the door and walk somewhere. Perhaps it is a manifestation of the sanctuary our home has become and what it represents. Perhaps it is a manifestation of how little free time I have that is not consumed by the 9-year-old and her schedule of swim team, martial arts, band, and school. I rather suspect it is all three.
So, there I was, alone in Target. I didn’t panic, but I did reel. I felt at sea, out of sync with the people around me in their family groups. Mine was at home, either ill or tending to the ill. I was buying Mucinex. I was buying dental floss. I was panicking over buying the wrong kind of dental floss.
I remember the days before cell phones. I didn’t have such a thing until I was in graduate school and didn’t feel attached to one until I was in California, when Chris one, gave it to me and told that I would be carrying it and answering it. I remember spending entire days away from my dad, going out on dates without worrying about what was happening at home, about doing the grocery shopping with my mom and buying what we thought we needed without running to the payphone to ask someone at home to check the contents of the pantry.
I can do this, I thought.
I texted Chris and asked about the damn dental floss.
Don’t get me wrong. I probably would have picked the right one. But we usually do such tasks together and I’ve forgotten which one to buy, when I’m alone, since they don’t sell it at the grocery.
When I texted Chris, it wasn’t about the dental floss, was it? I was looking for a comforting pat on the head — a silent You’ll be fine.
He answered, life went on, and I went to Costco.
Alone, for the first time ever. I think I did pretty well with that.