This year I was alone. Now don't go feeling bad for me. I chose this aloneness. I had a show the night before in Philadelphia, so I didn't get home until late and I had a bit of insomnia so I didn't sleep well. And I had a show in Portland, Maine on the 5th (tonight), so really, where was I going to go. But I woke late and got the blues, alone in my small place with my dog, feeling, well...alone. I didn't just sulk. I spent a few hours in NYC at Battery Park watching Jenny Lewis and part of Conor Oberst's sets for free with a friend. That was nice. Then I had that feeling, you know that one, where you know you're just about to get really anti-social, despite being around great friends, and you don't even want to explain it, you just want to bolt. Quickly. And get home. Even if you know home means alone, you'd rather have the option of being home and alone and putting your pajamas on and crying into a pillow, or drinking an entire bottle of wine, or just doing nothing and feeling nothing and watching crap tv, than explain this growing blob of nothingness in your gut to your friend who will want to convince you to stay out, get a beer, have a laugh, take your mind off it. But you WANT your mind on it. It sounds really self-defeating. But its like walking straight into the fire. Sometimes you just want to fucking take your shoes off and walk on the coals and feel the pain.
I've been separated for a while now. Everyone knows this. Hell, even strangers know. I'm a songwriter with a new album out that's entirely about my marriage falling apart (well, metaphorically, at least. Its really not "about" my marriage, but the songs were inspired by this period in my life of deciding to stay or go and it was painful, to say the least--still is--and the way I coped was to write about it and when the album was done and the PR folks and I were sitting around, we thought we could either dance around that or just flat out admit what the fuck I was writing about, so there. I admit it. Go forth and extricate what you will.). And I've been lucky this week, getting really great press. Its what you want. Its what you hope for. Thing is, with me, its a double edged sword. I'm thrilled about the press. But every time I read about my record, I have to read about my marriage "falling apart" or some other phrasing that can make me feel if not awful, at least a twinge of regret and sadness.
I chose this. I'm not complaining. I'm explaining. And probably because there are others out there who feel as I do, I don't feel like I'm airing dirty laundry here. Maybe I'm oversharing. Sue me.
I miss parts of this relationship. A lot of parts. I still have so much of the good parts and for that, I am blessed. But I do miss the coupling. The knowing that I've got someone to eat dinner with every night. My "person" (as Meredith calls Christine in "Grey's Anatomy"--guilty pleasure) who has my back, will take care of me, will pick me up when I'm down and share the heights with me when I'm flying. I don't have that right now. Again--I chose this.
But let me tell you, the Fourth of July is a pretty lonely holiday alone. In the past few years, I've had other holidays alone and you'd think Independence Day would be one that would be a good one alone, at least a minor holiday. What do people do? Drink beer and eat burgers. I can do without both of those. But as I walked June to the water last night in the 9pm dusk to catch a glimpse of the fireworks, and ran smack into large crowds gathered on the gardened piers of the Jersey City side of the Hudson, and I could lean my head to the right and have a partial view of the sparkling sky around the Hoboken buildings, I realized how claustrophobic it was there, alone, with my shivering dog, afraid of the noise. So we walked quickly home. I almost ran. Just wanted to be in bed with June. We crawled into bed together, she curled up tight against me, as the cracks and booms continued in my neighborhood long after the official fireworks ended, and I hugged my dog, realizing that this was perhaps the first night that being alone really sunk in. And maybe that's the impact of Independence Day for me this year. Independence. Finally. Not a celebration though. A melancholy awareness of the loss of something for the gain of the unknown and a blind faith that the leap will make sense on another far away July 4th.