‘I find that I can bear the solitude very cheerfully, I find myself quite content with my situation Lizzie.’
Charlotte Lucas – Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’, 1997.
A person I don’t know very well asked me to join them for a cup of coffee. Seemed simple enough, friendly enough, an activity done without much thought. Ordinarily. Only I declined, and they did not take it well.
To explain that I have become so used to my own company, in semi-isolation, and only venturing into the midst of others in my ‘bubble’ where comfort and knowledge of the familiar, seems safer, did not appear to be believable. But this is how it is. Been months of it, either cosseted within my own walls, or an intimate téte -á-téte of no more than three for a few brief hours. Solitary habits have formed, and I too, am quite content with the situation.
It was not always so. I am a city dweller, a curious craver of action and art. A must have the packed diary and dates to validate that my life is a full one. The Pandemic has changed all that; initial fear, still fearful and waiting for my turn for the vaccine. Travel is something I miss greatly and fear most of all that I will be prevented from seeing my children over the coming months. But I bide my time. Find things to do, wistful things that takes a little longer than a date at the top of the tube elevator.
Life has, for all, turned inwards. Zoom fatigued and now selective about the conversations that seem to dwell on one subject, little else to tell. Pray harder for the safety of my family and friends and those who have suffered so greatly from the virus. Turn to music rather than the news … and yes, have little to say, but lots to say about just being quiet for a while …
Am I lonely? I am alone, but never lonely. Have I fallen into a form of depression and procrastination as a result of a halted life, and world; not at all. Plans continue, hope prevails.
High heels and smart clothes hang in the cupboard. I smooth the sheets upon the bed, gentleness in the making of it. Caress the new rose buds in the evening light. Savour meals I make from old recipe books, and turn to poetry when the day is over. Rise with the dawn, with no intentions and sleep with dreams of my childhood belonging.
Is it good? Not so much – it will not last, this solitary life for I am a creature of doing. Content now, to wait until the hands of those I love are slipped into mine.
I am Charlotte. I shall return to Elizabeth soon.
And it is perfect, for now.
Image – Pintrest