I’m on a bus. Alone. The seat beside me is empty, save for a sandwich, a bottle of water, and my Kindle. It feels empty without Rob beside me, his long legs askew and his hand on my thigh. It also feels undeniably spacious. And that’s the theme I’m exploring this week: space.
I’m heading to a peninsula jutting into the cold Pacific waters off New Zealand’s North Island. Rob is flying to American Samoa to visit a buddy from his Peace Corps days. I didn’t want to go for a number of reasons: money, travel time, the fact that we just left a very similar setting. But the main reason was to create some space.
I love Rob more than most things on this planet. I love him even more fiercely after our travels together. But we haven’t spent more than 24 hours apart in the past year. Hell, it’s rare that we spend more than two hours away from each other. As independent, self-sufficient people, that’s kinda weird. And sometimes unsettling – what if we become too dependent on the other to spend time apart?
Solo explorations infuse our relationship with new energy, and give us the freedom to disengage from the sometimes too-comfortable couple circle we present to the rest of the world. It’s hard to break into a circle, so the space inside can get stagnant. We do better together when we take a little time to explore the world alone. Separately. Individually.
Being alone provides a completely different space for my thoughts and my body. I move differently, am more observant, more quiet, more spontaneous. I can eat what I want, when I want. I can read all day or write all night. The space I usually allot to Rob is waiting, beckoning, a blank slate to fill as I’d like.
This last year is the longest I’ve gone without an “alone time” trip of my own. During our relationship, I’ve spent at least one hundred nights away from Rob — for work, for fun, for me. For us. All of these trips created a different energy in the space vacated by my husband. It’s always a pleasure to see what wiggles into that space when I’m alone. Sometimes it’s chaos, sometimes it’s peace. It’s always enlightening.
Today, I’m on a bus alone. I’m going on an adventure to see what I can find. I’m following my feet wherever they take me, knowing that – in the end – they will take me back to Rob, where we will reunite to share our stories, our space, ourselves.