January 30, 2019
Solitude is an interesting phenomenon, after a decade and a half of being inextricably woven into the lives of one’s family. How easy it is to avoid being truly alone, thanks to the confectionary comfort of screens and busy-making tasks. It stretches out in front of me, these weeks in an unfamiliar city, not knowing anyone outside the rehearsal room. Cut adrift from regular responsibilities and relationships, I feel a little shiver of fear about how easily I could become dependent on television and food for solace. How quiet it is, both within and without, when children don’t need to be cared for, guided or transported. How long the night is, without the reliable companionship of one’s partner and the reportage of our respective days. The novelty has worn off and it is only day two.
But I did speak to my beloveds for a considerable length of time, which restored my equilibrium. And now – true luxury – I am in bed before nine o’clock. I can turn out the light at any time. Or read. Or stream sitcoms from the nineties. I intend to ration out these little luxuries in the weeks ahead.
I could call any one of my friends in Adelaide, but somehow, they feel very far away. And I want to inhabit this sense of dislodgement for a little while longer.
I suppose what is unnerving is the realisation that while this solitude is temporary, a more profound one waits. Or may wait. Who’s to say? I suppose I could be accused of teetering on maudlin, but we are rehearsing a play about love and art and death. The big stuff. How could it not seep into the quiet of the evening? And yet even now, on day two, I see how quickly the tendrils of new connections begin to form, provided the right conditions. I owe two phone calls to old friends who live in this town. An ex-student who just moved here suggested we catch up. This solitude is temporary. Solitude is a choice. But for now, I choose to not fear the waters coming to stillness. I’m game to take a peek at what lies beneath.