Alone

Fears come in different sized packages. Tell the story of a time you had to face a fear, big or small.

You’d never know it now, but I am terrified of being alone.

When I got married, my best friend gave me an exasperated look in the basement of the Cathedral and said: You know you don’t have to do this.

Time passed.

When I decided I was going to move out of my husband’s house, I was in Las Vegas, crouched on the window sill of a hotel room, staring down at the Strip from the thirtysomethingth(?) floor; listening to Andrew fake-vomit in the toilet; watching my entire life crumble around me.

So my best friend said, When you are ready to go, come home to Los Angeles.

So I did.  I called my parents, and I had them come meet us, and I went back to Los Angeles with them.

Well, first, I called my psychiatrist, who was a former Vogue cover model, and a former Pantene girl, and, at one point, Richard Avedon’s muse.  Her father had been a lawyer, and sometimes, our sessions felt like I was the one doing talk therapy on her.

I’m in Las Vegas for a wedding in which my husband thinks he’s the best man, but he’s not, and when he found out he was not the best man, he took to bed, I’d said.

Shit, she’d replied.

Then we discovered that in Nevada, you can still call in a prescription for Valium over the phone.

The next day, I’d left with my parents, who had done that Thing they do, which was to stop in Baker, CA at the World’s Largest Thermometer, and also, to order gyros at the drive-thru at the Mad Greek.

And then I found myself back in LA.  Jade was still married at the time, and her mother hadn’t yet gone off to Melbourne.  So we got on the horses, and we rode the canyons.  We saddled up, and I rode.

That night Jade, James and I went out for drinks and music, and I didn’t bother to change clothes.  I was out in Hollywood, smelling of sweat and horses and hay.  Still in jeans and boots with barn on them.

But I was Free.

Scared and Free.

photome

Jade snapped this photo of me that night, as I was laughing.  We were at a bar on Sunset — a place we had gone to as teenagers, when it had a different name.

It was the night after I’d left Las Vegas; left my husband.  I’d gotten a job offer; I was leaving New York for at least nine months.

Nobody knew any of this.  Nobody but me.

You would never know that I am not particularly fond of being alone.  But until I had made the decision to leave, I had always been in relationships — my entire teenage and adult life.  I had never been without a boyfriend, or a husband.  One after another, I was a serial monogamist. 

I love to talk; I love to check-in with people.  I love to have guests and company.  I love to host dinners and parties.  I love FaceTime and Skype.  My parents installed my own phone line in my bedroom when I was a young teenager, and I have happily chattered away ever since.

Filling the void of time with the sound of my own breath and the clatter of my own footsteps was terrifying.

But, strangely, it was less terrifying than being lonely.

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