Independence Day

It’s actually Friday the 13th, and yet what’s been the central theme of the day is independence, which I both require and resent.   It started with an 11th hour decision to cancel a scheduled mortgage refinancing, which involved tough negotiations with bankers, attorneys, and a mortgage broker.  I didn’t shrink from any of it, yet when a separate bank employee flagged me down to request a Tax ID for my father (who died four years ago), I crumpled.

Later, I strolled down to the hardware store to pick out a saw.  Not a handy sort, I was intimidated by the task before me. In order for the trash company to haul away my 8-foot stepladder, I first had to cut it in half to regulation size. The receptionist at the waste removal office was matter of fact. “Can’t you just get one of your neighbors to do it?” That would involve asking for help, something I’m loath to do.

As I was halfway through the project, my neighbor showed up and offered to help me out.  What he actually said was that my technique was scaring him.  I have to say I felt pretty accomplished when I was done, though Ken was less impressed. “You call that a workout?”  

I had been feeling a little sorry for myself at points throughout the day.  If I’d been in a relationship, there’d be someone to pitch in, share in the decision-making, lend support.  Or maybe not.  After agreeing to my ex-husband’s request to adopt a dog, I was the one who attended Buster’s weekly obedience classes.  I purchased my last car on my own when my then-boyfriend didn’t want to venture out on a cold December evening.  

And despite being currently single, I’m really not alone with everything. Amy actually came with me into my last doctor’s visit, bringing both comfort and laughter. When my father had to be placed in a nursing home after a stroke, dear Katie helped  clean out his cluttered apartment. Over the next two and a half years until my father’s death,  I was able to count on my brother and sister in law’s consistent involvement in every aspect of his care.

When I hopped online tonight, I saw a facebook photo of a friend and her beau settling in for Friday evening cocktails, a comfy ritual marking the beginning of their weekend together.  A pang of wistfulness swept over me.  But then, with just myself to please, I indulged in a  peanut butter sandwich (on sourdough) and a smoothie. And left the dishes in the sink while I fiddled with my camera and delved into my newest Haruki Murakami novel. Ahh, independence.

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