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February 23, 2017

Shaking Off the Black Cat of Loneliness.

I wouldn’t call myself superstitious, but sometimes the Universe works in ways too magical to ignore.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about how leaving my romantic relationship was like getting out of a lukewarm bathtub.

Despite the comfort of having a nice guy to curl up next to at the end of the day, I knew that something had always been missing between us, and if I wanted to feel truly in love I’d have to face the cold air of the single life for a while.

So, I left.

The actual act of breaking up released a whoosh of energy within me. I felt as if I were playing Mario Kart, and had driven over a mushroom that sent me shooting forward over emotional road bumps. But inevitably, I slowed down and loneliness caught up with me.

It really was cold out in the world. Weekends were especially uncomfortable. On Friday nights, blood stopped bothering to reach my fingertips. No hand to hold, so who cared? Saturday nights my teeth chattered, hungry for kisses. By Sunday, I couldn’t remember what had been so wrong with that lukewarm tub.

Just as I was ready to text him, to cave and slip back into that stagnant water, something magical happened. I checked my email. Right at the top of my inbox was a message from “elephant journal.” My article was live.

Oof, I thought. Point taken Universe.

It was as if the woman I’d been just a few weeks ago, the one who knew with every fiber in her being that it was time to leave the relationship, had folded up a paper airplane and sent it sailing ahead to future me, the woman who would struggle with the temptation to go back. It’s one thing to have family and friends advise you against a relationship. It’s another thing entirely when the advice is coming from you. Especially some sort of all-seeing, time-traveling you.

So as much as I wanted to, I didn’t go see him. I stayed single. And yet, I found myself with a steady companion. My longing for a passionate romance was like a black cat hanging around my heels. It followed me from room to room, mewing for affection. When I sat down to readit leapt into my lap, sprawled across my book, and refused to let me forget that I was single.

And although I’d shut the bedroom door at night, it always managed to sneak in, and come morning would prod me awake with pushy paws. I had no idea how to get rid of a cat like that. What’s worse, I was actually getting used to it. I had started to bond with my mewling, as if it were a little buddy worth keeping around.

Fortunately, in the second magical event of the month, a Lyft driver set me straight. She was like my very own guardian, or in this case “car-dian” angel.

We started talking about the weather, what a gray day it had been. She told me her married friend thinks of cold days like that as made for staying in and making love.

“But what if you don’t have someone to make love to?” she asked rhetorically, as if the smooth sax player on the radio could answer her. “I’ll tell you what you do,” she said. “You get a goblet of wine, light some candles, and take a royal soak in the tub.”

I started to laugh. It was just too good. This stranger was speaking my language, and unknowingly told me exactly what I needed to hear.

It’s miserable to walk through the world stalked by the black shadow of loneliness. And it’s exhausting to live in constant anticipation of a romantic relationship. But the beauty of a steamy bathtub is that I don’t have to wait for it. Believe it or not, my bathroom has a bathtub. It is fully in my power to fill that tub with piping hot water, and maybe toss in a few bath pearls for good measure.

So lately, instead of pining for a person to sweep me off my feet, I’ve been sweeping my hair up off my shoulders, sinking low in the tub, and soaking in the beauty of this blooming relationship with myself. The intimacy is so rich.

As stress is slow-teased from my body, I relax into the steady embrace of the water. When my hand rises above the bubbles like Aphrodite reaching up out of sea foam, and I bring wine to my lips for a slow, glorious sip, I savor the decadence of these moments alone.

The cat can’t follow me here. It can’t breathe underwater. But turns out, I can. My sapphire depths just keep going. Swimming solo, there is so much soul to explore.

~

Author: Lexi Tess

Image: Ivan Karasev/ Unsplash 

Editor: Deb Jarrett

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