Friday, December 17, 2010

Cookies For Lunch

Ate cookies for lunch yesterday, because my spouse is away.  This is something I would never do when he's around, not that he would object in any way.  The most he would do is ask me to let him have a couple.  But still, I wouldn't do it.

Then in the evening I worked straight through the "dinner hour" on a clay sculpture, not stopping until I reached a true stopping point.  I cleaned up, made a fire, had a glass of wine and the rest of the cookies, and some almonds.  And did the universe punish me by making me sick to my stomach or, worse, causing me to gain five pounds?  Not at all.  In fact, this morning I am half a pound lighter than yesterday.

Today I may commit other infractions, though they won't be cookie-related (I cannot bear to even think of cookies right now).  I may have an all-spinach dinner--sauteed with olive oil and garlic--or I may spend the entire night downstairs in front of the fire, with the dogs.

I am always surprised by the pleasure that these short periods of solitude bring.  Since the earliest days of our marriage, the prospect of my husband going on a trip has plunged me into separation anxiety.  Though the passing decades have taught me to abstain from throwing hissy fits as he packs his garment bag, I still, every time before he goes, devoutly wish he wouldn't.

And every single time, the moment the car disappears down the driveway, a strange exhilaration seizes hold of me

Don't think that the thought of his return depresses me.  The only thing that would depress me about that is if it were delayed by even five minutes.  But there is something about the change that a  temporary separation brings--the slight variation in daily rhythms, the ability to follow one's impulses from moment to moment, the silence--that is, temporarily, rejuvenating.

Eventually blessed conjugality resumes, enlivened by the hiatus.  As Bertie Wooster would put it, variety is the s. of l.  Or, as the witches say, "merry meet and merry part, and merry meet again."

12 comments :

  1. Most of my sadness/resistance comes in the days before the separation too (I am all anticipation)...and then I enjoy my solitude. My husband, on the other hand, is zero anticipation and all about missing me when we're actually apart. His way, of course, seems to make way more sense.

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  2. I love the solitude too, but can't wait for his return! And my supper will often be a small bag of Cheetos, and a Coke! Heavens to betsy...

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  3. Indigo, I can't make sense of the before-it-happens upset, followed by enjoyment, despite having been through it countless times.

    Jaimie, in the summer, when I'm alone in the evening, I just go out and pick tomatoes and eat them right there in the garden. How quickly we revert to wildness!

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  4. I've eaten cookies for breakfast -- oatmeal.

    Sometimes I like it when Dean's away. Sometimes I resent it. His return is always upsetting though because of the state I let myself get into when he's gone.

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  5. yes, yes! i look forward every year to doug's annual ice-fishing expedition with his buddies. (a 20-year tradition, and counting.) i love the solitude. i read. i watch "persuasion." i stay up late. i have popcorn for dinner.

    but i am always, always ready for him to come home.

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  6. Oh yes, the anticipatory sadness is ridiculous. I do it! Though it's usually when I'm going away, rather than him, and I think my sadness is guilt at the pleasure to come. Maybe that explains yours too?

    I do relish my Thursday evenings when my husband is out though - like you I can eat and drink whatever I want.

    http://aseparatelife.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/food-biography-dish-7-pasta-and-chardonnay/

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  7. Your Thursday night pasta ritual is by far the most civilized of the above.

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  8. And here I thought I was the only one who dreads the separation, rejoices in the return - and delights in the interium. I have two theories. One is that our different aspects of self do not necessarily talk to each other or even know one another. Strikingly inconsistent human behavior and feelings are the norm, not the exception. I once read something by (I think) Kurt Vonnegut about constructing a character wherein he said that you could never write a believeable character with the kind of contradictions that most people exhibit.

    My second theory is that the short term absence of my husband puts me in a rare state of perfectly balanced solitude - free from constraint and also free from loneliness; secure in the temporarily absent love.

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  9. I vote for the first theory--we humans are a mess, and impossible to figure out. And Vonnegut is right--literature is but a puny effort to put some order in all this chaos.

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