LIZZIE’S WORLD: Afraid to be alone

By: LIZ LUNDI

My phone pings just as I am about to insert a DVD movie in the player. I absently pick it up and swipe the screen. It’s a text message from Harry. It reads: ‘Where are you? Want to hang out this evening?’

I have, a few minutes ago, decided that I am going to have to learn to enjoy my own company, and what better time to start than tonight. But it seems the Universe has decided otherwise, and here is Harry – who only a few days ago was totally noncommittal about seeing me again – to test that resolve.

“Haha, very funny, God,” I mumble dryly to myself. I plonk myself on my couch, DVD still in hand, and take a long sip of my wine as I decide what to do. Then I look at the clock on my wall; it’s only 8pm. Goodness me, what a long evening it’s going to be if I have no external distractions.

“What to do, what to do?” I chew my lip thoughtfully. Here is an opportunity to not let my entire evening sink in an abyss of loneliness. Besides, there’s a whole world of activities out there– parties to attend, restaurants to eat at, new people to meet, in fact, I could even start the process of forming a new set of friends tonight to replace the three girls who used to be my entire world before their babies and husbands took over.

But what is this fear of missing out that has taken over me? I can’t help but ask myself that question. Am I so terrified of having to entertain myself that I must seek fulfilment outside of me?

What’s wrong with missing a few parties and people this one time?

I am still ruminating over these things when my phone rings, startling me. I look at the display: It’s Harry. I guess he got tired of waiting for me to reply. And now, that my reply has become inevitable. I pick up my phone and sigh tiredly into the mouthpiece:

“Hello?”

“You don’t sound too keen to hear from me,” he notes.

“No, it’s not that. I was just in the middle of something.”

“Did I catch you at a bad time?”

“No, not at all,” I say. Then there is an awkward silence for a few long seconds – made even more awkward by the fact that we are on the phone.

“So I sent you a text message earlier,” he says.

“Yes, I received it,” I reply.

“Liz, I have no idea what you want,” Harry finally snaps. “You called me a few days ago telling me you were angry about not seeing me-,”

“I didn’t say I was angry about that,” I cut in.

“-and now when I make a move you turn cold. What do you want?” I am silent, mostly because I don’t know what I want. “Ok. I think I did catch you at a bad time. I’ll speak to you later. Have a good evening,” Harry finally says, then he hangs up.

I don’t blame him for snapping. If I had to deal with myself right now I would do the same thing too.

In any case, all of that does not matter now; I have no choice but to enjoy my movie and my glass of wine and my house, now that Harry’s offer has been withdrawn. So I pop the movie in the player and lie down on my couch and wrap a blanket around me, trying hard not to think about how depressing it is to sit in the house on a Saturday evening. I don’t know when I fall asleep, but I do know that when I come to consciousness it is 3am in the morning and I am still on the couch, at which point I transfer myself to my bedroom.

When I wake up on Sunday morning it is at 6am and my head is amazingly clear. I am also feeling quite energetic – all the perks of not spending my last night working up a hangover. I open my curtains and the sunlight comes pouring in, alerting me to the fact that it is, indeed, a beautiful day.

“What shall I do with this day?” I ponder. I can’t spend it inside the house – this is a day built for going out and having fun in the sun with good friends! I know I can’t call any of my girls – not after our bust up yesterday. Perhaps this is a good time for me to call Harry and attempt to explain my behaviour last night? Hmm let’s see.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION