Many days have passed since I stood leaning at the balcony railing, a cup of coffee on the marble sill. Today, the city turned beige, and the regularity of the moment, the normalcy of all of it, drew me in again. Today, standing alone as I was, I did not feel isolated, not by a long shot. The world happened for the next few minutes as it did—kids played a game of I Spy in the yard below, and the neighbours all embraced the evening how they do, talking to each other, sitting at the benches near the garden, or taking laundry back inside. I stood, and I felt the breeze blow by. Ironically, it is because I have embraced my solitude once again that I can see the world again. That I met some friends today is not a question of losing my want for isolation, but that I could do it because I was filled with this comfort of returning to myself later in the evening.
For the better part of this year, I have, for reasons beyond my control, surrendered this agency to the whims of others—to invitations, for responsibilities and wants I struggled to fulfil, but now that I have taken myself back from the world, now that the proverbial dust has settled, and now that I can feel the breeze, I can make up a report, an inventory in these words which can tell you what happened. But then, now that it has happened, and more importantly, now that it is over, why talk about it? There is, after all, life to live. Some of us only know to live at a distance from the world, visible but always across the river, waving from the other side.
And just like that, my happiness returned to me like a feather brought along with the breeze, like seeing the friends who you don’t see as often as you’d like to, or together, or at all, like a beautiful glass of rosemary, gin and tonic on a hot summer day, like the sweetest caramelised onions you could ever put on a slice of pizza, like a lot little and a lot more, like so much that happens. I can see it again because I have stepped back to take the whole picture. I was blinded by how close I was.
Never again shall I ever make the mistake of giving more than I am capable of giving to the world, not as quickly, not as much as I have this year—not at all.