solitude, in scenes


I am 26. It is early enough for breakfast but I have been awake for hours, and the salmon and lettuce in front of me already feels like lunch. I take small bites, observe the controlled urgency in which people line up for coffee and bagels. There is nobody to give my leftovers to; I finish everything.

I am 19, and exhausted. The books I need to read are all hardbound and heavy, weighed down with big words and a musty smell that hints at a kind of wisdom that isn't always patient or forgiving. At this point in my life I am not yet entirely convinced that my hard work——my best work——is a reward in itself. I am not yet entirely convinced that things will be okay in the end.

I am 27. It has been pouring the whole day, building up to a chilly evening, rain still hanging in the air. I am on my own, on my way. I am prepared to ring the bell, to linger outside in the cold for a minute or two. But when I turn the corner, the gate is open, and the pieces are in place, and I am more than willing to get used to this: someone has been expecting me all along.