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I took myself to lunch today, walking because it was only a block away. I spent yesterday doing the grunt work: hauling my dad’s old furniture to the curb for big junk day, laundry, dishes and sweeping the kitchen. Not hard labor but enough to make me tired and cranky. So today was my day to rest.

I ate lunch alone and started to make a list of reasons why being alone is a good thing, a better thing. Reason one is I don’t have to spend time with boring people or people I don’t like because they are friends/relations of my spouse/whatever or worse, my spouse/whatever. This came to me when a family sat behind me and the dad was a bit of a blowhard, dominating the conversation and telling everyone within earshot (including me) details about his parent’s move from east Texas to Oklahoma, his vacation home, his impressions of the Olympics (not terribly impressed) and so forth. His wife tried to get in a word but she was stopped after the second or third syllable when he took it from there. Having a quiet lunch alone went from seeming slightly sad to rather gratifying.  I had to listen to this dude blather on for a few minutes and could walk away, relieved. His wife and the rest of those poor suckers weren’t as lucky. Reason two being alone is great is I can make plans or go spur of the moment without having to consider anyone else.

This occurred to me after I left the restaurant carrying my styrofoam doggy bag. I passed a nail salon and amazingly they were open on Sunday at noon. It was Sunday at noon and I went inside. I needed a pedicure, have needed one since I gave myself a botched version last month. For me pedicures fall under the “don’t try this at home” category. I suck at it.

I sat in a massage chair and chose the deluxe pedicure option, the spa version looked nice but was $45 and I could live deluxe. Deluxe was pretty good, my feet soaked a long time, I got to enjoy the massage chair and jet spray on my toes, balls of my feet and even better, to observe people. The tech, a VN woman about my age, looked at my feet and started working. She took what looked like a cheese grater to the bottoms of my feet and bits of dead skin fell away. The woman next to me had her feet grated and it yielded a large pile of what looked like freshly shaved mozzarella. I’m now currently off mozzarella. Then after assaulting my calves (massage perhaps) she wrapped steaming hot towels around my legs and feet. At this point I realized I was paying her to do this.

When I had pedicures before, in that time when I could afford it, the days when Jerry was alive and frankly taking care of me, this never happened. I had scrub slathered on my feet and legs but none of this stuff. It was a surprise, it has been a long time since I “treated” myself and it felt odd. I felt a little self indulgent but told myself there was no point stopping it now, my feet were wet and I’d probably be charged for something anyway, might as well stay. I didn’t have any appointments or plans, no one was waiting on me. The only thing I had on my schedule was to clean the bathroom and I was willing to wait on that. So I watched as the tech trimmed my toenails and dunked my feet back into the water.

By the time she finished my feet looked better. I even felt a little better.But there was one unforeseen consequence, I had walked here and now I was wearing paper thin flipflops. I couldn’t put on my shoes, my polish was still drying and not quite smearproof yet. I paid for my pedicure and wobbled carefully outside.

The paper thin flipflops are meant to be worn only between the door of the salon and the door of your car. They barely qualify as footwear, their purpose is only to keep your feet clean. I wore them home, walking funny because there was still tissue between my toes. I stepped on a tiny pebble and nearly came unglued. This happened a couple of times. Fortunately I had only a block to go, less than that and when I got home felt grateful for wall to wall carpet. The flipflops survived but are curling at the edges, they were not meant for this.

As for being alone, I know I’m meant for this. I’m used to being on my own, being an only child until fifteen made it natural. Being on my own sometimes is lonely and I admit wishing I had someone to talk with, to go places with and enjoy their company.  These feelings come and go, they will pass and I just wait for them to recede. Most of the time I don’t mind, it is one aspect of being a widow. Making decisions, from whether to get a pedicure or to move becomes something you do without worrying about what other people think, without asking for opinions and trusting yourself. The main reason is there isn’t anybody there to ask. This independence is a heady thing and can be overwhelming and frightening, to know you can do almost anything you want to do, within reason, of course. I have always been stubborn and often acted this way before, for better or not, when I was married. It hasn’t been a big transition for me but there are moments when I do wish I could talk to someone who would listen and share these little thoughts and ideas. Those moments aren’t frequent but they still occur. I usually accept it, feel the sadness and loss. Hopefully it passes soon, then I go on. Sometimes I pray about it, but most times I know what needs to be done and I do my best. If it turns out well I feel relieved and glad I made that decision. If it tanks I can only blame myself, beat myself up a little and hopefully learn a lesson and do not make the same or a similar mistake.Being alone is a powerful state to be in, my hope is that I make the best use of it possible.

My feet, still ugly but colorful and smooth in the paper thin flipflops.

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