“Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone. It has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.” ~Paul Tillich
After a day’s rest in Singapore yesterday, I said goodbye to my travel companions. Their flight to LA via Tokyo left early this morning; mine to New York departs at midnight. I woke up this morning facing a day in a foreign city knowing not a single soul. Heaven knows I’ve traveled alone before. After living nine years in Germany I don’t think twice about hopping on an international flight by myself. When I found out, however, that everyone was leaving before I am, I was surprised at the moment’s pause it gave me. Perhaps it’s because I’m the one being left (it’s ALWAYS easier to be the one doing the leaving) or maybe it’s this new life I’m living, to which I haven’t fully adjusted.
In the nearly two years and nine months since Peter’s death, I have adjusted to my aloneness in stages. I remember the first time I walked down Third Avenue, in an attempt at normalcy, just days after he passed. I felt like I was in a different New York from the one which we had shared for three and a half years. Likewise the feeling struck me the first time I rode the subway.
My first air travel after Peter’s passing was one month later, to Germany. It felt strange, terrible and entirely wrong to return to OUR place without him. The amazing travel I have been fortunate enough to do in the past two years and nine months felt at first like a betrayal. How could I enjoy so many new and wonderful sights without my best friend by my side? We had talked of seeing these places together. I do, however, know what Peter would want me to do.
So after all is said and done, here I am, alone in Singapore. I’ve had a good day. I went for a run (albeit on the hotel treadmill watching Ellen DeGeneres, not pagodas – I was afraid of tripping if I ran in the Botanic Garden with no one to rescue me). I shopped. I ate. All alone. In solitude, but not lonely. And I LOVED returning to the butterfly garden at Changi Airport. I’m definitely not alone.
Oh, I do wish Scottie could beam me up, but twenty-two hours of travel await. It’s time to go home.