Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sounds of silence

Last June I decided to move out of the apartment I had been living in for the past four years. I was determined to live alone. I was coming off of a horrific roommate experience-one that kept me shaking with fury most days- and I wanted nothing more than my own space, my own sunlight across a tiled floor, my own silence. Instead, come August, I found myself in a new apartment living with my sister.
My younger sister and I shared a room for most of our lives, so sharing an apartment just seemed like a continuation of the way things had always been. Of course, we both threw minor fits in the weeks before we moved in, culminating in my sister reconsidering her decision about a week before the moving trucks arrived. We created elaborate rules, hoping to maintain a sense of independence and a life separate from one another. Within a week the rules and the fear induced hissy fits disappeared. After a string of roommates whose lifestyles needed to be accommodated and learned, there is nothing quite like living with a sister. We settled into a comfortable pattern of domesticity- I cook, she washes. She mops, I sweep. I stumble into her room at 6:30 (if I'm lucky) a.m. to feed the cat and then stumble back into bed, she wakes an hour later and makes coffee while I sleep. Some nights we sit and talk. Some nights, when we both come home late and grumpy, we retreat with our computers to our respective rooms and shout inconsequential greetings at each other from across the hallway.
There are drawbacks to this sort of living situation, the foremost one being that when my sister is gone I miss her. She went to the states last week for a friend's wedding and left me with the apartment to myself for a week and a half. When I was living with said horrific roommate I used to treasure my solitude and independence. Cooking for myself was one of the most satisfactory things I could do. I like to think that those are things that I still treasure. My sister left last Wednesday night. By Thursday the silence felt oppressive and the prospect of cooking dinner almost brought me to tears. The joy in sharing a good meal, in feeding someone, is exponential to that of eating alone. And yet, somehow, on Saturday night when my plans to go out with a friend fell through I was glad. I didn't miss my sister any less, but I liked the silence more. I felt that I needed it to brace me for the week ahead. (and what a doozy of a week it has been). I still would rather share my food, but I also have forced myself to rediscover the joy of cooking for oneself. I was glad on Tuesday, when my good friend who is visiting from the states arrived to stay for a few days. I am also glad for these few minutes when she is off seeing relatives and I have this small calm in which to write. It's a balance, I guess, finding those things you wish to share and those you wish to keep to yourself. I'll find it. Maybe the key is having someone who will make you coffee in the morning but understand when you need to drink it alone.

Two random things I will never understand:
1) Why the old Russian ladies wear makeup in the pool.
2) Why the food at haredi weddings must inherently be cold and crappy.

Also, I miss my sister.

Book Rec: Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

Thesis Watch: Page 68.

1 comment:

Raizel D'arcy said...

I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! i also want my own sunlight across a tiled floor... and a sister roommate.