We are apart this weekend and I have felt very alone. Not lonely or needy, exactly . . . just my own entity, as though I can, all of a sudden, remember what it is like to be single, for good and for ill.

I suspect, but do not know, that he is feeling alone himself. I say that because it often seems we mirror each other’s emotions . . . “catching sight of you around the corner,” he used to say.

When things are bad for him, he goes quiet. I have known him a good long time, and I know that he needs that silent space to figure out which way is up.

There is nothing more painful for me than when he takes the time to himself, except, I suppose, the thought that he is hurting. It is uncomfortable to sit knitting my fingers and wondering if he still cares and where I am going. On the other hand, I indulge in those kind of thoughts too often. I have to be able to make my own quiet, calm space, whether we are in each other’s lives or not–and especially if we are.

This morning I got indignant again, wondering why he didn’t simply tell me on Friday, or yesterday, or today that he needed x days “off”. But when I need time off–from him, from other people, from the world–I never know how long I want. It changes from hour to hour. Mostly, I know, he needs some peace right now. Things have been very hard for him lately, and he has had to make the kind of gut-wrenching choices that get made at 3am, tossing and turning in bed while you search your mind for a corner that is not filled with concern.

Though I do not talk to many people about this, even him, it is bad to know he is hurting. I don’t talk to him about it because he doesn’t like pity and because it doesn’t do him any good for me to feel sorry for him except on those occasions he expressly demands it. (!) I don’t talk to other people about it because his life is his, and he guards his privacy carefully. I respect that in him.

So, when he is down, he pulls inside himself. He calls it “Going into my cave”–as though he is a bear who needs to hibernate or a hermit who needs a safe retreat from the world.


Sometimes–less often–I need the same space. Put better, maybe, I need the space but I don’t take it–instead I push at him until he takes it, and that is hard on both of us.

He is patient with me in his own way. Once, when I did ask for some space, he said he hoped someday he could help provide the kind of quiet time I needed. And then he sent me this . . .

He understands me, and that is why I try to understand him, and let him be him.

I figure I will meet him around the corner soon enough.