How would you answer this question? Do you enjoy being on your own? My answer is an emphatic and passion filled “NO”. I hate being by myself. I always have. I’m not sure where this goes back to in my life, but I think it has to do with the fact that I think my parent’s home is haunted or possessed. One of my earliest memories is a warm summer evening, with everyone in the backyard putting up a new swing set. I’m probably five or six. I have to head inside to use the facilities, only to be greeted by a man telling me to get out of his house. Can you say freaked out? That was me.
Or, when I was in college, home for the winter break, alone on a weekend night wrapping presents— A sudden BOOM in the basement had me in tears and locking the door between the upstairs and the basement while frantically calling one of my brothers and boyfriend to come and save me! They told me to call our neighbor to come and check it out, so I did. I have another vivid memory of sweet Tommy Thompson, weighing about 150 sopping wet, charging across the street with a baseball bat to save the day.
One that day, when my Mom got home, we learned that the furnace was faulty, and made a weird booming noise sometimes when turning on. The first experience, during the summer, is still not resolved for me. I have no idea if it was a real man, a ghost, or just a vivid imagination.
Consequently, when my parents are out of town, and I’m in charge of the plants/mail, etc., I never go over by myself. I always drag one of my kids or husband – like any of them could really protect me. I know it’s goofy, but it makes it possible for me to enter without complete and sheer terror.
This same fear, though, applies to most any house I’m in alone—particularly at night. During day light hours, I’m often home alone, and it’s fine. In fact, that kind of alone/quiet I can find somewhat peaceful most days.
This fear of being along has been on my mind more this week, since for the past few nights, everyone but me, and the dogs, are away. This pile of keys is sitting on my desk in my bedroom. I know in my head that if there actually was someone in my house, having this pile of keys, and being behind a locked flimsy bedroom door, isn’t going to do diddly to save me. And yet, I do it. Every time I’m the only one sleeping at home, even if the rest of the fam is just in the backyard, I go around taking the keys off the tops of the doors, and laying them down inside my bedroom walls. I hunker down in my bed, with music blaring, and curtains not closed (to let in light), wondering if my dogs would even bark if someone, or thing, made a noise outside my door. Sometimes, my crazy thoughts mean no, or at least, stilted sleep. Other times, I can convince myself that all is well in my corner of the house, and sleep, although not particularly deep nor long lasting, sleep does come and visit.
As I get older, I worry about being alone someday. I’ve never lived on my own for more than a few days. I moved from my parent’s home, into a dorm room, into my husband’s and my first apartment. I have no idea if I could even do it. Will I end up living with one of my kids? Growing up, my great grandmother lived with my grandparents. I always thought that must have been really awful for my grandparents, particularly my grandmother. She never really spent more than a few days of her married life away from her own mother. How horrifying. Hmmm, maybe not from my great grandmother’s perspective. Maybe she too didn’t like being by herself. Instead, being close to her family brought her deep comfort and joy. Perhaps I’ll find out one day, but I really hope that I don’t have to.