Housesitting in Italy: First Nights Alone
I am not proud to say that on this first day of seeing no fellow human, I greet the night with a certain fear rising in my blood.
Alone, there will be no friend or parent calling or stopping by. No neighbor to hear a scuffle at an unsuspecting hour.
As a young woman, if any dark-hearted bystander caught sight of my solitary residence here, what means do I have to prevent a violence in the night? Though loathe to admit it, I’m scared, and it’s made worse by a looming loneliness I did not expect to feel.
So often I tout myself as an introvert, but in these moments of authentic isolation I recall how lovely would be the face of a friend.
True, today I felt profound surges of happiness. I danced outside during the sunrise and surprised myself with smiles amid mundane moments.
I moved through this farmhouse kitchen during lunch and paused to feel the vast expanse of freedom to spend the day however I wanted. On a green chaise, I lounged before the sunset while sipping tea and reading about how to make a career as a writer (because that’s all I have to do to get there, right, read about it?).
Then the darkened sky arrived and my mind, maintaining the inertia of a daytime filled with enthusiastic thoughts, soon turned to a nighttime filled with suspicion.
This anxiety, I’m not quite sure whether it’s primal-style fear or the realization that today has been the first real step onto my path as a writing recluse.
The city life of Los Angeles, constantly calling me out of my bungalow, filling my nights with laughter and alcohol and comedy shows, needed to be ousted. The reset button to be pushed.
So here I am, my first housesit of three this month.
Perhaps it is the energy of this place—cluttered, sad, incomplete—that brings thoughts of the very same nature to mind.
Friends expecting romance-filled descriptions about my time so far in Italy seem unsure of how to respond when I tell them I am home-bound, here to write and focus. Perhaps I seem unappreciative of the setting, but I’m not.
This hour is dark and there will be more of these to come, but as the ultimate laws of the universe demand equilibrium, I’m sure that spikes of joy will come along to balance it out.
As long as I make it through the night.