For some reason, I am related to quiet, independent women who love to live alone.
My mother and two daughters crave solitude, happiest when left alone.
They keep to themselves, do not know their neighbours, try to do without domestic help and if murdered won’t be found for a very long time.
I, on the other hand, need some kind of bustle around me 24/7.
Two helps have been strategically placed early a.m. and late p.m. respectively; they are encouraged to linger with small talk and tea.
I like to think. I keep an open house, where anyone can drop in anytime and stay as long as they can.
During the day I get by. I am busy with phone calls, passionate trips to the grocer, cooking a little something, pretending to work on my computer.
At nights, though I come unhinged. Every creak, every breeze, every thud go off like bombs in my ears.
Even the moon going about its business in the sky looks sinister.
Ghosts, goblins, bats, snakes, shadows, robbers, rapists, aliens... I expect them all.
Power failures feel personal.
I am the woman in that horror flick you saw, who will go out into the night because she heard a howl, who picks up the phone, when it rings and the killer will say, ‘You are next.’
I await a knock on the door. I feel watched.
All lights on, I stare at the television till 4 a.m., call up all the night-birds I know, and then kind of faint on to the sofa around dawn.
I have been inviting myself over to my mother and kids, but they politely fob me off on the flimsy excuse that I am bossy and try to run their lives.
Asking them to move in with me is pointless because they will suddenly look busy, avoid eye contact and generally act like their lives are full of hectic meetings and parties.
The thing is I was never trained to live alone, though obviously I’ve done a good job with the people I raised.
Keep a pet? Goldfish can’t talk, cats run off yonder, goats need yards and cows are too big to be kept in flats.
And though dogs like me a lot, in fact charge across barking and drooling madly, I do not return this intimacy.
If I travel on work, I am the cheerfullest person in the hotel lobby, inviting every one for a chat.
Bug-eyed, I sit there till about 5 in the morning – and what the reception desk thinks of this I don’t know.
Back in the room, I check every closet, under the bed, behind the curtain etc. and then lie in bed, waiting for everyone to wake up and catch up with me.
I am the first one at the breakfast buffet.
Around noon, however, the world takes on a surreal quality.
I feel I am in a dream sequence. Words reach my ears in slow motion and I struggle to focus. This is roughly the time I am invited to speak/read.All Eliza Doolittle may have wanted is a room somewhere, but how about some company now and then?