When The Last Guest Leaves
“What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.”
~ Ellen Burnstyn
When the last guest leaves, I am free to be me.
When the final footfall is heard on the porch steps, I can breathe a deep sigh of relief.
The dirty dishes will have to wait until morning, the half drunk bottles of wine will breathe the night long.
The bowl of nuts and the platter holding a few remaining blue cheese stuffed olives, sit forgotten amongst empty wine glasses.
It was a good night.
The latest dance mix I compiled echoed in the high-ceilinged living room, drowning out all but the closest chatter.
I smiled as I caught the eye of my lover who was talking to a group of friends at the other side of the room.
My body found its own rhythm as it moved to the sweetness of the music. My soul doing its own unscripted dance as it rode the sound waves, reveling in its brief freedom.
I was lost in a temporary space of lightness and nothingness.
Until the inevitable happened.
A new girlfriend of a long time friend asked me what I did for a living.
I dreaded the look of disinterest that I knew was to come.
When I spoke the same words for what felt like the hundredth time.
Having no career to validate me but instead an illness which labelled me as weak, I hesitated, always sure I could come up with something interesting if I tried hard enough.
“Oh, I am so sorry to hear that,” the pretty brunette with the perfect ten body replies as her eyes furtively look for a way to escape.
I am tired now.
The laughter and music which had earlier buoyed my spirits, now jangled my raw nerves.
The heat of the crowded room, which mingled with the various sweet perfumes, now threatened to turn my wine filled stomach into a full out rebellion.
In a darkened corner of the room, I wait for the night to blessedly come to an end.
As the friends slowly start to leave in groups of four, all I want to do is lie down.
“Goodnight,” I say smiling. “Thanks for coming,” as I hug each one goodbye.
I squeeze my lover’s hand while we wave to the last guest, laughing at some joke I only heard the last line of.
Regretfully, I disengage my hand from his. My body longs to feel his familiar touch, but fatigue wins out.
I am alone now.
I can stop acting like I feel fine.
I am exhausted.
Slipping out of my too high black heels, my black party dress falls to the hardwood floor where it lays in a heap.
My cotton pajamas cover me like a sheath as comforting as my mother’s embrace once had been.
I will sleep now. I will recharge my depleted batteries.
My thoughts drift sweetly into nothingness as sleep comes for me with the promise of escape.
I will rest now.
The last guest is gone; I am alone.
I am free to stop pretending.
Cindy Lee Lothian
March 8, 2013
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Ed: Brianna Bemel