Four years ago, there were days where I’d go hours not uttering a word.
I’d wake up. My roommate would not be there. I wouldn’t have to work that day. I’d go through my morning routine. I’d take a train or bus or walk somewhere.
The first person to hear my voice would be a barista or a cashier.
Sometimes it would sound strange to me. Especially if the night before I was also alone, ordering food on Grubhub, thanking the delivery person, and then crawling into bed to watch Netflix. Sixteen, eighteen hours would pass before I had human contact again.
I also used to nanny. I’d talk to my non-verbal charge, but he slept a lot. Sometimes we’d take a walk and he’d be in the stroller, or he’d run around the playground, or he’d watch t.v.
There are plenty of differences between being single and being attached and being attached with a kid.
But silence is something I notice. Or, the lack of it.
I can’t not say good morning to my partner or sit wordlessly with my toddler while he eats breakfast.
I notice the times I’m able to be silent. On the train. Walking into work. Sitting behind my computer answering emails.
But eventually I must open my mouth. I must make eye contact. I must listen and respond.
It’s not that I resent having to speak and interact, it’s just that there is no avoiding it. I can’t opt out of communicating like I used to.
It’s nice to have someone help you carry the Christmas tree home to your Manhattan apartment. Just make sure you want to see that someone for the majority of your time, indefinitely.
I think the thing we’re most afraid of when it comes to our relationship status is no longer having a choice. We keep getting older and our options are fewer. Or we settle down and again, our options are fewer.
Both have permanent endings.