The best part of this essay challenge is that I am constantly thinking about what to write next. And this keeps me reading more ardently so I have diverse thoughts. Not saying that I don’t have enough to write about without reading but it stimulates more thinking and who doesn’t want more thinking?
As a chef, I am always experimenting and I have a handful of friends in my 23 years in the U.S. who will indulge me and eat just about anything I set in front of them. Some even love cooking with me. This morning after creating a heavy breakfast my mind went back to a particular friend who came to visit me when we both happened to be on the same coast. We’ve been friends for 8 years since we first met at VONA, and she has remained consistent in her support and affirmation of me and our friendship over the years that it feels I’ve known her forever. I think back to her this morning because as I was cooking I was recalling when she came to visit and how we just had a blast cooking. It led me to think how some people like her have been partnered forever, and how on that trip she came with her partner and he stayed down the street from my apartment. I remember being flabbergasted when she said she’d not really traveled alone before. I recall pitying her, then almost simultaneously envying her as I thought of all the trips I didn’t take because I would have felt safer in a twosome than by my lonesome. How utterly decadent to have had that gift of a permanent hang-out buddy for so long!
Why do I recall this incident? Because for the first time in my singledom I want someone to make breakfast for. I’ve always known that the reason I eat poorly and mostly resort to fast food is because it is one serving and none of it goes to waste, thus leaving me with no guilt. There’s no scraping food into the trash because I didn’t finish it and couldn’t or wouldn’t eat it the next day. When I cook, I am so accustomed to cooking for more than me that there is always food left over. And I don’t eat left overs unless it’s Ghana yams with corned beef stew or waakye. I could eat these two dishes every meal every day if I could afford it. But that is beside the point. This morning, I am sitting behind a breakfast meant for two and I know it won’t heat up well even if I attempt to save it. I wish there was someone to share it with. Someone to murmur “mmm this is good” or “oh hon, you overdid it on the black pepper” and for a conversation to ensue as a result. But I sit here listening to a Putumayo cd collection called Afro-Latin Party, and trying not to feel guilty about wasted food.
This recalling of my friend and her partner also brought to mind a similar incident that occurred with my sister when she came to town. We hadn’t seen each other in about 2 years; I had my own place and I asked her to spend one night with me so we could properly catch up, especially since we do tend to resort to our mother tongue when we meet so her partner wouldn’t feel left out. She couldn’t give me an answer. She had to go ask him. And what she said will probably never leave my mind as long as I live. She said “he looked at me like I had two heads” or perhaps it was “as if I had lost my mind”; once again, I was blown away. One night. He couldn’t part with her for one night? They were about to spend the rest of their lives together!
What is it that makes people unable to or unwilling to part from a coupledom if only for one night? I think to myself this morning. Maybe that’s why I’m still single and for the most part I’m happiest living alone to come and go as I please without seeking another’s permission to spend a night with a bff or my sister.
But then what is this thing that pokes at me this morning? And morning after morning as I sit down to yet another elaborate breakfast? Is it because I am getting older and most of my friends around me are partnered and are hard to make plans with because theirs is a life of constant negotiation and compromise whereas I only answer to me? Is it because I too, deep down, would love to have that permanent hang-out buddy? The funny thing is none of the partners I’ve been with except for two have been social butterflies like myself. So this has meant that even in coupledom in the past 25 years, most often I have attended quite a few events alone because they’ve not wanted to go. This inevitably has always lead to arguments and disagreements which most often mean me attending events alone and rushing home to appease them, ultimately resenting it, or me staying out as late as possible and dealing with whatever consequences which has often meant being iced out for a few hours to days. This has also lead to mistrust because they didn’t trust that another social butterfly wouldn’t whisk me away while out. Of course this points to a much deeper issue of trust but that’s a story for another day.
It’s too early (41 in a few days) in life to give up yet on finding someone complementary to me and the lifestyle I have developed and have come to cherish. But these days I seem to have resigned myself to singledom not in a sad way, but just in a way that says it’s ok if this is the reality. I just need to resurrect some of my earlier zeal for facing crowds alone. I’ve been a home buddy for most of 2017 but I think I must change this habit if I am to widen my circle of friends or even meet someone.