“Aren’t you lonely?” Diane asked her mother. “Ever since Dad died, you’re always alone. It’s not healthy, Mom.”
“First of all, sweetie,” Jennifer said, “I’m not ‘always alone.’ You’re here and we’re having lunch together.”
“Mom, you know that’s not what I meant.”
“Second of all,” Jennifer continued, ignoring her daughter’s interruption. “Being alone and being lonely are two very different things. Before your father died, I was almost never alone, but I was almost always lonely.”
“I don’t understand,” Diane said.
“Being alone is a state of being, honey, while being lonely is a state of mind. Your father and I lived in the same house, slept in the same bed, and were physically together almost constantly. But to be honest with you, I felt smothered by him.”
“But you loved each other, didn’t you?”
“Of course we loved each other,” Jennifer said, “but there’s an old saying, ‘familiarity breeds contempt.’ So while we were always together, we barely communicated and ultimately grew apart.”
“Oh, Mom, I had no idea.”
“Yes, we hid it well,” Jennifer admitted. “But being alone, Diane, isn’t just doing things by yourself, it’s also doing things for yourself. I started a blog and I have hundreds of followers from all around the world, people that I call my friends. I have started writing poetry again for the first time since college, and I’ve even begun doing some sketching and painting.
Mom, that’s amazing. I’m so incredibly happy for you.”
“Yes, being alone is not necessarily being lonely,” Jennifer said. “In fact, I think that being alone can be the most empowering experience of your life.”
Written for this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver prompt.