My mother has two sisters. Both of whom have been living down in Austin: one married; the other not. Both of whom come to visit Grams (and me too...I guess) regularly. The single one is a massage therapist and is up once a month for a few days to see her loyal Dallas clients. The other, while married, still enjoys it up here, equally as down south - and so has come frequently.
This aunt has been through some changes lately and has moved in with us while she decides what she's going to do next - and I've gotta say that I really like having her here! Grams and I alone are like a stale, married couple. And this aunt brings a more youthful dynamic to the household. It's not a frat house, for sure. In fact, I like to tease that we three are another Golden Girls. But still, ever since I was little, I've thought she made things more fun. Not only is she a formidable Scrabble opponent, she has a softly frenetic way about her that I find enlivening. Even when she is physically still, her mind is awash with plans and what steps are next to take. She always seems to be on the move and it demonstrates for me the fun that a person can have in their action, in doing.
She is near friends and family again now that she is back in Dallas and has wasted no time enjoying their company. She invited family over tonight to gather for brisket.
Grams asked me ahead of time if I was sure I didn't want to join them. My aunt said, "They are your family; they love you." Both of their facial expressions, not their words so much, tell me how they question my behavior. And I understand; I used to think my behavior was dysfunctional too. I do not doubt that my family and friends love me! I treasure them, too! I always laugh and have a good time in their company. But I also end up tired. I end up drained when I interact with the world as a personality. I find solitude to be simpler. I'm not saying that one is better than the other - only that they can be equally as rich.
There is no trouble here. I love knowing that they are just beyond my walls, visiting together, eating, and having fun. If I turned off the fan, I might be able to hear bits of conversation. I can sometimes hear a laugh or the clearing of a throat. Sometimes I hear footsteps walk past my door. In my mind, I can see each of their faces. They are with me and they are loved. And I love knowing that I'd appear in their minds if they chose to call me forth. But it isn't needed. I don't need to be with them. I don't need to attend dinner parties or speak with them on the phone to love them or connect. Whether they are in the living room, across the country, or even dead - they're with me.
I love them as I sit among them.
And I love them from quiet in my room.