My Constant Companion

Jun 15, 2020

I’ve been well positioned to weather the weirdness of this retreat into our homes these past few months. I, like many artists, thrive on solitude. I like nothing better than to dig into a project, be it in the studio or in the garage, uninterrupted for hours on end. I savor the freedom to watch what I like, eat what I want and do whatever I damn well please on any given day. Might be why I’ve stayed successfully divorced for thirty years now.

I sing good morning to myself and those ungrateful cats every morning and do a little jig as I pour myself a glass of wine in the evening. Amazingly there are no disagreements about what music to listen to or how loud it should be in my house. 

But this is different.

My house is cleaner than it’s ever been, photos have been organized, woodwork has been touched up, cat damage has been repaired, unwanted items have been sold, furniture has been rearranged, website’s been updated, files attended to, garden planted, and windows have been washed. Art work is matted and framed, and I've drawn, painted, collaged, and written, I’ve even weathered the demise of a relationship with aplomb. You’d think I’d be in hog heaven. I’m not. I’m fine. But I’m not.

Last night as I sat on my deck for the first time this year surveying the knee-high grass that I’ll need to get after some time soon all I could think about was my grandsons playing ball out there last summer while my granddaughter and I cheered them on. My instinct to make sure I had enough propane for a cookout with the family soon was checked by the undertainty as to when that could possibly take place again. Earlier in the day that littlest one modeled her new pink mask for me as she toed herself out of her front door wanting to inch closer to me as my heart wanted so desperately to meet her halfway with a big hug and a kiss. A three-year-old’s face mask. Think about it. My heart breaks.

I characterize this time of isolation as a restless aloneness. I busy myself and it gratifies me and I enjoy my accomplishments of the past 63 days. But it isn’t enough. My own company is fine but I so miss the people I love. I even miss the people I don’t love. I miss seeing people’s faces, their whole faces. I long for human touch even if its accidental.

For now I’ll need to be content with my own company, such as it is. And live by myself in my very clean house.

Painting: Self-Portrait: Distancing © Lissa Banks 2020