Laughter…and dancing because I can.

In April 2009 my son left home for the Navy. At the time I had a boarder who would come and go between house sitting jobs until he finally moved out in October. I was fifty-one years and two months old and for the very first time I lived alone, well except for the dog, two cats and cockatiel.

It was disconcerting in the beginning. It’s a reasonable size house so I had a lot of space to myself. I spent a lot of time at friends. After two teenagers I missed the noise. Even when my son slept – there was noise because he would have his radio on. Just enough so I could hear that there was noise.

I grew up in a city where there was always noise; cars, neighbours on the other side of the walls, someone’s radio or TV.

Small towns are still noisy, but it’s a different type of noise. There is the odd kid who screams down our street trying to be a boy racer, but we’re more likely to hear a horse racing along, or the tuis calling to each other in the trees.

I live on the edge of town, where there are still a few paddocks left and the river hits the inner harbour at the end of my street. Now that the house is a lot quieter I appreciate those sounds more.

I still visit friends and they call in here for a chat and a coffee. The dog takes me walking most days, along the river.

Somewhere in that time, the compulsion for company, for the noise of others has disappeared. My deck has become a favoured place, especially this summer.

I’ve lived in New Zealand, in this town, for eighteen years now and I’ve never known a summer like it. Land of the Long White Cloud my arse.

It was with dread that I imagined living alone as the time got closer for it to happen. How would I handle the loneliness? Being alone is not the same as loneliness though.

The last years of my marriage were the loneliest time in my life. And the first few as a solo mother were pretty lonely, even with the children.

So why am I not lonely now? It became obvious to me a few months ago.

The sink was clogged and the kitchen floor was covered with everything I had hauled out of the cupboard. Towels were lying around everywhere ready for any mess, and wrench in hand I was on the floor pulling the s-bend apart.

That is a lot more dangerous than it sounds – thankfully ALL inhabitants of the house survived the experience !!!

The demented fox terrier was licking my feet when the youngest cat thought it might be a good time to spring down on to my belly and start kneading it into a pillow. I heard a sound that pulled me up.

Me. I was laughing. Not that I don’t like to laugh – I do. I laugh a lot I think, around others. But it was apparent I was enjoying myself, by myself.

Why didn’t I laugh when I was on my own before? There was the odd chuckle at something, but this was belly rolling laughter.

Enough that the cat left in disgust.

It’s happening a lot these days. I don’t think the neighbours will call for help for the crazy lady – they’re used to me being a bit odd. I can hear them thinking, she was born in Australia, poor woman.

It’s simple – I enjoy my own company. I like me. Most of me anyway, except for my boobs. I used to be so proud of them. Now I have to be careful when I am getting dressed that I don’t accidently tuck them into my jeans.

When I find the IDIOT who thought up gravity…

I’ve noticed I dance alone too. It seems to go with the laughter. That’s not as mad as it sounds. Really.

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Author: Jo Bryant

I was born in the land of Banjo Paterson, gum trees, and weather extremes. I am a freelance writer. I live in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, but still like to claim my Australian heritage. I graduated with a Bachelor of Communications in 2008. I am writing my first novel. I love to write poetry, short stories, and also write for the web. And there is nothing that is on a par with a sunny summer's day spent at Waihi Beach.

5 thoughts on “Laughter…and dancing because I can.”

  1. This is definitely a post I can relate to, however right now Im not laughing too much. Ive had my husband home from working overseas for 4 and a half months and I got used to having him around again. So when he left for this new job I thought…..yeah its not gonna be a problem, but man I moped around for a week, just me and the dog staring out the window looking sad……taking a while to get used to being alone again dammit….I hope I’ll be laughing again soon.

    Like

  2. SO many terrific posts here I wasn’t sure which to comment on. Thank you for your terrific site, your wonderful photography…and for your thoughtful comments to skydiaries. I was really glad to see your name appear there!!!
    -Lynn

    Like

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