Last night my house was quiet. It is a rare thing in the modern world to be inside a house, in a town not far from a paved four lane road and think the world is too quiet. I am not a person to turn on the TV to let it play, filling the space with disembodied voices and vacuous ideas. I do not need company of this sort. And the house was quiet because Monday night is their dad’s night. Splitting custody of the boys in a fixed way has meant that every Monday and Tuesday night I fly solo. Two years ago, I would fall into World of Warcraft. The social aspect of the MMORPG filled the quiet time. Slowly, I pulled away from the game because I did not really want to be social. Socialization means sharing. Instead, I started writing. I wrote on this blog almost everyday. I practiced thinking positive. I practiced thankfulness and gratitude. I searched for myself and, at times, ran away once found. Then I started writing the “story” in earnest. There is an importance to being earnest in one’s endeavors. You can’t just piddle.
And so, I made from scratch an entire life, a fictional life, a whole family of characters. And they kept me company. I invited them in and asked them to tell me their story; I listened and I wrote it all down. Grace Franklin Pierce, my main character, is as real as anyone. And I miss her. Her story is written. The space she once occupied I have been reluctant to fill. I like Grace. I miss Grace. I don’t want to leave Grace. But Grace’s story is done. And it is time to move on. And so, my house is again very quiet. My sons are away this night. Grace is gone. I loathe TV. I do not want to listen or read anyone else’s story, although I listened to an hour of the Cookbook Collector while working out at the gym. I sat in the quiet space discontent and restless. The only thing in that space with me was me. And I am not such good company. When left alone, my critic takes a seat and harangues me like a harping, condescending Old Maid Auntie who clicks her teeth and tisks her tongue.
And the the litany of criticisms starts: You should finish your incomplete charts from work; you could fold those three baskets of laundry. You could be useful and clean the house before the boys come back home Wednesday, since you have such a long day tomorrow. You could try to finish the quilt top, you have the pieces to make the sandwich. You could make your airplane reservations; what are you waiting for? Go feed you mother’s cats and get her mail, at least! And as the harangue revs up, I feel more and more subversive and seditious. Yes! Yes I could do all that stuff. I could do it all tonight. I could do it all and for what good? For whose pleasure? I fed the kitties and got the mail. The one thing for which I was obligated. Is there some deadline to finish the quilt? Do the boys give a crap if their carpet is vacuumed? I really wish the pain in the ass harpie would get out of my house and out of my head. It has been a (negatively) motivating voice for so, so long. And honestly…..was all that I did yesterday NOT enough? And who is keeping score? And all these little nagging , incomplete tasks negate all the other stuff? I got my kids to school. I helped Evan que up the week and he is on track for a slam dunk. I worked a full day. I gave bad news….twice. I DID go to the gym and exercise for nearly an hour, technically overdoing it and coming home flimsy and wobbly. I ate a fresh salad and water for dinner. I did about 600 words of writing on my new story. And who invited you over anyways? And it makes me want someone else in my space to make the Old Bitty Auntie go away. Except, there is no one and she’d have an opinion about that, too. I once never questioned her presence. I never treated her rudely. She came, she judged, she commanded attention and submission. I could get her to leave by performing or completing her ridiculous demands. Like a hostage taken, I can either accept I will die in captivity or I can try to slaughter my captor. Her days are numbered. My rage and anger towards her will mean when I finely break free it will not be an Arsenic and Old Lace moment. Nope. We’re talking Fargo and an upturned mulching mower. And then, my quiet space will truly be silent and quiet…………..and kind. And then I will do my tasks and my hobbies out of pure pleasure and not because if left undone or incomplete it marks me as not enough or less than acceptable.