The waves crash against the rocks outside the kitchen window. I have reheated coffee. Everyone else has left, checking out and going about their business. I am alone. I have sat on the boardwalk and read, watched whales spouting in the distance, photographed a crow for Penny Thieme. I have traded texts with a friend in Chicago who knows my state of mind. Distract yourself, he encourages me. Write.
I can hear the kindness in his voice through the cold words on the phone’s screen. He does not chastise me for being sad. He understands, even though his life differs from mine. With a wife and daughters; a business to run; he rarely finds himself alone and yet, somehow, he understands that my arrival at this fiercely beautiful place which I so deeply love has brought out the immutable fact of my reluctant solitude.
It’s the twenty-seventh day of the twenty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining. I cannot claim that I dwell in joy today. It eludes me. My life continues but today, at this moment, I must report that the steps forward challenge me, and my journey principally continues because I still have promises to keep and I am a woman of honor.