Brand building through storytelling

Home alone and loving it

When I was 19 I explained to my bemused first lover how I knew that our fling had to end. “If I really loved you,” I declared, “I’d want to be with you all the time.” The puzzler, for him, was not whether what connected us was love (shouldn’t energetic sex be enough?) but my notion of lovers as constantly yearning for each other’s company. I’ve since decided my old flame was right to be skeptical. Now that I do love someone, and have spent close to 40 years with him, I’ve noticed there are times when the sweetest thing he can tell me is, “I’m going out of town on business for a couple of days.”

He never fails to ask if I’d like to come along. Palm Springs in November? How could I refuse? Ottawa in November? Dream on.

Yesterday morning I kissed him goodbye and started planning solitary pursuits. I puttered in the kitchen with a pot of exotically scented soup. I gave thanks for the fragrant silence of home (if my husband were home, he’d be watching soccer, and I’d be humming along through gritted teeth to the tinkly, omnipresent theme music from Setanta Sports—one of those cleverly irksome tunes that work their way into the innermost recesses of your brain).

Between bursts of chopping and stirring, I perused the movie listings and choseRachel Getting Married“We’ve seen it!” my husband would have said. So we had. But the characters had been on my mind ever since, and I wanted to hang out with them one more time, listening for clues I’d missed. In this movie about two sparring sisters joined by memory and hope, I had seen myself and my own sister, who lives far away. I had identified so strongly with the genteel, super-responsible sister, whose imminent wedding is disrupted by the prickly, anxious, bottomlessly needy sister fresh out of rehab, that I completely overlooked the bride’s not-so-subtle oneupmanship—as my husband lost no time in pointing out. Was I heading off for an afternoon’s diversion, or for cinematic therapy in which another layer of self-deception peeled off my soul? Either way, best to go alone.

The movie left me in a ruefully mellow mood but I still craved one last fillip for my day. How about a new CD to play during dinner? Nipping into HMV, I made a beeline for the new Bob Dylan compilation, Tell Tale Signs. There was only one left, as if it had been waiting just for me.

Back home, I switched on all the lights and marveled for at least the hundred-and-seventy-ninth time at the harmony between the colours of our art and the bold, unlikely colours of the walls, chosen by our loft’s previous owners. (Had they guessed we’d be looking for a home?) The soup, a heady melange of collard greens, chick peas and chorizo, is a come-back-for-seconds classic. The Dylan compilation was so good, I’ll be playing it for days. And I still had a pumpkin tart to enjoy, which would be all the more delicious because I didn’t bake it myself.

Just when I thought I could ask for no more, the phone rang. My friend Catherine from Vancouver, alighting in Toronto for a board meeting . Could we get together the next night, which happened to be Catherine’s birthday and my last night to play at being single? “Come for dinner!” I said. “I’ll buy takeout from the best place in town.”

I hadn’t seen Catherine in over a year and I wouldn’t be seeing her now if I’d gone to Ottawa with my husband—who, as it happens, is arriving in Toronto just about now. Tonight the two of us will have soup for dinner. And all will be right with the world.


Posted by Rona

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