Majka said that this is my song.
I don’t remember how we got to talk about it, since we have very different taste in music (her favourite artist is that English ginger balladeer). I was probably bragging that I listen to Slovak pop? Anyway, when leaving at the end of her workdays she often asked me what I would do home alone, in the evenings or during weekends. I used to reply with the list of my planned activities, which usually don’t involve a partner, or I just told her that I would get bored and have some rest. She found it inconceivable that I didn’t have anyone.
At the end of the first wave of quarantines across Europe, I read in a few different outlets the same question: «With whom will you spend the next lockdown?» The point of these opinion pieces was that singles had better rush to find a companion during the summer months, before the inevitable segregations of autumn and winter. I thought it was bad advice: what could possibly go wrong with sharing a close environment with a stranger during a highly-stressful event?
I knew my own answer: «With nobody, if need be.»
I am not a loner, but I am comfortable with being alone, and I hardly ever feel lonely.
“I don’t mind solitude”: it is neither a pose nor a statement, just a personality trait that I have cultivated along the years, and which happens to be of extraordinary value as of late. I never beg for love or friendship, as I have learnt that they come when you are looking somewhere else.
Unlike others, I don’t have the daily urge to meet someone, I don’t need crowds around me to feel alive. You won’t find me at bachata parties, or at social gatherings for foreigners. I am not a people person; but I know how to build bridges. I like walk-and-talks. I cherish and maintain my most heartfelt connections, and I am quite an open book to those who know me closely, with whom I accept to drop my behavioural filters (we all have behavioural filters).
If there is something sometimes I am missing, that is intimacy. Trusting someone into my personal space, being trusted in someone else’s. Sharing experiences and thoughts. At times there is so much going around my head, bumping against the walls of my skull, that fizzles out and goes wasted because it lacks a two-way communication channel with a kindred spirit.
I have managed to build for myself what the Italian writer, Cesare Pavese, called
an inner life: of studies, of affections, of human interests that are not just about “affirmation”, but about “being”. Of course this is not easy: it is mostly a matter of self-reliance, and of understanding one’s own strengths and shortcomings. Lots of self-deprecating humour is required.
Every man is an island, and I am
bloody Ibiza San Giulio.