I thought I had everything arranged. An older gentleman acquaintance would come each Sunday to keep my guy company while I went to my writing group. He seemed like the perfect fit: a learned yogi with many interesting stories and experiences to share. We all got along well. And as he was living on a small income, I would pay him to visit for a couple of hours.
Yes, I could leave my guy alone for three hours, but that brought on feelings of guilt and worry. I know what he does when he’s left alone: he dozes, watches PBS New Hour, reads a bit, does a crossword puzzle, and scours the kitchen for anything sweet. Is this so terrible, you ask? No, not bad for an hour, but three hours is too long for my comfort. His brain, already dulled by dementia, seems to sink deeper. He’s an extrovert and he thrives on company and activity.
Me, I’m an introvert, as I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog. I’m also a writer, and writers need to talk, listen, and exchange with other writers. I carve out the three hours on Sundays for myself, working with three dear writer friends. We write, we read, and I learn from them, as they are often more informed and literate than I.
Yesterday, disappointment slapped me sideways when the yogi companion let me know he wouldn’t be coming on Sundays anymore. “It’s too depressing for me,” he said. “I can’t do it.”
I almost wept on the spot. Oh, don’t I know how depressing it is to spend my days with someone who used to be lively, alert, with a wide-ranging mind and healthy body! Where did that person go? I was awash in self-pity. Those feelings that lie just below the surface came bubbling up: anger, sorrow, frustration. And envy. What would it be like to up and say, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” And walk away.
But I can’t. I won’t. And so I begin again my search for a Sunday companion.