A Different World

Every year I ride out a storm or two solo, and every year I swear to myself it’s the last time. I’ve been single for longer than I care to admit. I don’t need a boyfriend to complete my life, but I do crave companionship.

There’s a difference between being alone and feeling lonely. Most times it’s better to have a plus one, but I’m fine doing things alone: attending movies and concerts, going on vacation, and living alone. Loneliness creeps in when I’m at the movies looking around at all the couples splitting a bucket of popcorn, or there’s no one to dance with at the concert when my favorite song is being performed, or waiters noisily removing the extra table settings after confirming I’m alone, or when I leave for and return from a trip and the only person to wish me bon voyage and welcome home is my retired landlord, or riding out a storm alone because there isn’t a significant other to keep me company.

I have plenty of close family and friends who love me. My phone was abuzz throughout Saturday with people checking in on me. Most were family back home in Massachusetts who had yet to see a snowflake as of Saturday morning while New York had begun to be coated since the night before. My brother called to check on me. A cousin sent a mass text to us out-of-staters—me in New York, a cousin in New Jersey and another in Philadelphia. The difference between me and the others is that they were riding out Jonas with their spouses. I flirted with the idea of going to my cousin’s house in Jersey to be with her and her family, but felt like I’d be imposing.

At least Jonas wasn’t as bad as Sandy a few years ago. For starters one was a hurricane and the other a blizzard. Even before the tristate area felt Sandy’s wrath, I was scared thanks to the news predicting all sorts of mayhem. Living in the top floor of a brownstone with windows that are nearly ceiling to floor and a huge tree in the backyard, I worried what the winds could do. Years before, I lived in a ground level apartment in Canarsie and fretted about flooding from another storm.

Having a companion wouldn’t protect or save me from these things, but it would be nice to share the burden or have someone calm me down. I left work a half hour early Friday to stop at the grocery store. I had grocery shopped the week before and didn’t need anything major, but I wanted to pick up a few things to try a stuffed pepper recipe I found online. The recipe is simple and I wanted to give it a try this weekend after I finish my leftovers. I’ve been looking for and trying new things in the kitchen to take a break from the usual rice and beans I grew up on. I’ll always love those dishes, but want to try new ones and not just at restaurants. My ginger-teriyaki chicken and fish, sweet potato ginger soup, cucumber pear smoothie, and baked egg avocado dishes were successful, but it would have been nice to get a second opinion. “Ooh, baby, that was good. Can I have some more?” Because it’s just me and recipes are for multiple servings, there’s always more.

I spent 2015 online dating. From January to December I was logging on to read profiles, send smiles, winks and messages. I went on a few first dates, had a string of text buddies, and even had a faux summer fling that crashed and burned once the fall eased in. Nothing evolved into something serious where we’d both be peeking outside a window happy to be safe and warm together.

As the snow piled high outside and I replied to texts, finished reading a novel, tidied up my apartment as I listened to an audiobook, worked out, wrote in my journal, grazed like a cow and chipped away at my nearly full DVR by watching Ellen, Wendy, Jimmy Fallon and Watch What Happens Live. I watched Lip Sync Battle on demand before switching to my latest binge-watching obsession on Netflix, A Different World. The Cosby Show spinoff makes me miss the time when there were quality shows with black casts and black love. I love Whitley and Dwayne’s complicated relationship, especially the way he has always loved and been a friend to her, even if she seemed undeserving. Dwayne reminds me of my first love Wayne. We were together for three years in my twenties. Last I heard from him, he was engaged to a mother of a young son.

I knew Wayne was not my forever. Every once in a while, I think about him. Sometimes I miss him. I don’t recall riding out any major storms together, but there were plenty of rainy days and lazy Sundays when we stayed in bed enjoying TV and each other. Before the year is over, I hope I do find that special someone with whom to cozy up on the couch or bed as Mother Nature rages on outside the window and when she’s calm.


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