Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Last night I couldn't sleep. And it's the first time I couldn't sleep since this summer. This summer, it made sense. I slept in short bursts, because I worked strange hours, and the heat tends to settle into all the cracks in a place. You're left with this boiling energy, and it's always too hot, even though the thermostat reads a green seventy-five.

But last night, it was cold. Which is how I prefer my weather. I was staying at a friend's home, and all nestled down into plaid sheets and a duvet that I'm enchanted with. But the light from the alarm clock, and the light from the coffee maker, and the buzz of my own mind kept me up. I'm writing and polishing a lecture on Steinbeck, and words from his letters kept sieving through my mind.

He was married three times. Once to Carol, once to Gwendolyn, and once to Elaine. He loved them all. It's evident. Even as his marriage with Carol is fading, he still cares for her. He wrote,
"I was cruel to her physically and mentally, and she was cruel to me in the same way and neither of us could help it. I am sad at the passage of a good big slice of my life. I could have been ecstatic. That was the age for it."
And later, after he married Gwendolyn, on an extended stay in London as a reporter for the war, he had not heard from his new bride in months. He wrote to her,
"I love you beyond words, beyond containing. I'm getting to the point where I half-way believe that I dreamed you."
How do we as humans do it? Having recently gone through a break-up of a kind, it weights heavily on my mind. How can we become so dependent on these people that we know, at least statistically, will come and go in our lives? Is it worth it to be "with" someone at all?

Or is it better to just let our own loneliness define us?


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