Although I didn’t realize it at the time, when I was a little girl I valued love and togetherness more than anything else. When my three-year-old brother would have nightmares, I’d be sure to allow him to tuck himself into my floral sheets and lie close to my beating heart. I would always be thankful that my parents had each other. And it brought me comfort that my father would call my mother every night just to say “sweet dreams” when he was away on business. When I bought hermit crabs, I had to get two so one wouldn’t live a life of solitude. When my uncle divorced my drunk aunt, I remember the pain in my eleven-year-old heart knowing he’d sleep alone in his big colonial home. At a very young age I was able to feel love in a multitude of ways, and I was sure I’d never be alone because of how conscious I was of wanting to be with others.
But I, like the singular hermit crab purchased by the oblivious child, experience solitude–even when I am with others.