I am like everyone else: good at some things, bad at others. I am good at being the spoon. I am bad at navigating, but I somehow always end up where I’m meant to be. I am good at wearing purple. I would be bad at singing karaoke. I would never be able to choose just one song to sing, because all of them resonate within me. If I were to step onto that stage, lights shining, the screech of feedback, and eyes trained upon me, a giant egg would lodge itself in my throat. If my friends were there, they’d ask me what’s wrong and I’d say nothing. Or I’d crack the egg in my throat with a joke about needing more tequila.
I am good at being alone. I like my home with its book-lined walls and homemade quilts, a glass of Malbec on the end table, and most of all, its silence. Big ideas can grow in that silence, but, like sunflowers planted in Dixie cups, they’d either become root-bound or risk the shock of being transplanted into the garden, where a slug would nibble on their vital leaves.
I am bad at being lonely, because I rarely feel that way–and sometimes I feel guilty about it. I am happier since my spouse walked out on me, ending fifteen years of marriage. I stretch out sideways in my bed, under a quilt, and listen to the silence. I smile. And pay for my happiness with a chest full of guilt.
Lonely or not, I sometimes burn to express myself, to say to the world, “I exist.” That egg in my throat is back, but this time, it’s hatching. The pain of it can be immense. It can darken my visual field to a pinhole. I screw up my nose and clench my fists. Sweat beads on my brow. The hands on the clock cross themselves several times and then the hatchling bursts forth. Whether its expression is a whimper or a sonic boom is a matter of chance rather than the result of meticulous plans.
Big or small, I am gratified when someone nods and says, I hear you.