Lost in jewelry making. My sister is having a party for me at her house, and I don’t have enough stock so I am making earrings and bracelets day and night, while the cats climb on the windowsill to watch, and complain at my focus, and I barely get outside, and the rest of the world dissolves like smoke.
A river of beads an inch deep in my cardboard box riverbed (the crutches came in this box; it’s just the right size) with clasps, earring parts and crimp beads lost in the bright clutter; the tools half hidden the cats chewing on string and jewelry wire. I’m feeling alternately stressed at my self-imposed quotas and lost in the endlessness of it, making one thing after another like the junked-out deity we unspooled from those millions of years ago.
These past several days have been like the seasons when I’d spend weeks alone in Wallkill. The whole city is here around me, but I don’t see it. I hear my neighbor in the hall, catch snatches of conversation, nod to the doormen on the way out, watch the flow of people traffic on the streets: it’s all backdrop. I talk on the phone, feed the cats. I miss the old 12th floor gang.
If it were the old days, I’d wander down to Annie’s when I got lonely. Philip would come over or take me to dinner. Now I’m solitary: my friends are all just a little too far away, emotionally, for me to feel part of anything. I keep thinking of whom to see, dinners, coffee dates, and they’re all good: but they don’t add up. That’s my fault: what I’ve unraveled.
This happened slowly, one thing after another. Charles moving out, then being so wrapped up in Philip, the perpetual drama. Hard to believe that’s coming to an end: at least the particular drama we were part of. What will happen next is unclear.
It’s strange when all of a sudden a packet of years closes off and you realize: that’s the past now. What was the present for a long time—changing, moving forward, but still somehow all the same present—is gone: there was a bridge, a bend in the road, a jump, a cut-off.
So here I am in the new time, and solitude feels okay. I’ve gotten used to it. I have a lot of work. I have to make necklaces, bracelets and earrings. And edit a man’s book. And then, soon, I hope, my own again.
Passion for Solitude
by Cesare Pavese
Translated by Geoffrey Brock