Home > Alone, Home > The Amount of Time

The Amount of Time

It’s mainly about trying not being alone.

It’s tiring and deflating to walk in after midnight, open the door and see everything clouded in darkness. When the first light is turned on, the shadows around the disarray seem longer and rough edged. The stillness is loud and has a wry grin. The air is limp and never forgets that I will sigh loudly while I take off my coat and have an internal debate about whether I’ll hang it up in the closet or simply let it lie on the chair where I sit to take off my shoes.

The refrigerator light that engulfs me as I open the door seems the open eye of a witness who takes note of my late night slouch, my weary countenance and my disregard of civility as I pull out the gallon jug of iced tea and swig greedily.

I can look mere feet from where I stand and notice the dishes that need only to be placed within the grill of the dishwasher, the socks that make dramatic splashes across my bedroom floor, the unmade bed awash in wrinkles, the spot where a plant fell and still has beads of soil that need to be vacuumed up, the stack of pages, letters and mail that is opened, or needs to be opened, the shameful dust on the bookshelf, the stark white walls interrupted only briefly with photographs, the half filled storage bins with their covers scattered, the cabinet doors left open which look like broad wings in the darkness and the couch blankets that have been thoughtlessly tossed and are spread wide open.

The couch can attest to the lonely moments. I sit on the middle cushion, slightly hunched over and close to the edge so I will not sink in and stare at a random object. Not for the sake of study, or contemplation of some matter, but an effortless and blank gaze without the whirring of thought.

Sometimes the distraction of a TV channel causes mild focus and my mind blindly adheres to the chain of conversation or story on the screen and a half hour has gone by. A commercial interrupts the bland interaction between us and I stand, stretching out my arms, back and legs and the thought of lying down occurs. Not out of exhaustion, but out of boredom. Most nights it”s right there on the couch, the oldest inanimate object in my apartment – one that was given to me, where I surrender, without benefit of taking off my work clothes, to the loveless ennui and close my eyes not for weary eyelids, but for lack of emotional stimulation.

It is not love that prods me into asking if she will meet me and stay the night, and she is fully aware of that. It will never ‘bloom and blossom’.

But it has been happening often enough that she can steer here on her own, park her car nearby and wait for me to pull into the parking lot.

It is a brief, teasing, tenuous glimpse of what the day’s final destination holds for countless others. And I can not help but submit to its bold vagueness and torture myself with it.

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  1. 03/22/2011 at 7:30 PM

    More beautiful writing…but I wonder about the ending. Is ‘she’ signifying being alone or is there a ‘she’ that you are referring to…or is the vagueness purposeful?

  2. 03/24/2011 at 1:22 PM

    I was being vague on purpose jobo. I used ‘she’ to refer to both.

  3. 03/24/2011 at 6:23 PM

    This was beautifully, beautifully written.

    • 03/25/2011 at 2:06 PM

      Thank you msbrookie, that’s very kind of you.

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