By Tshegofatso Ndabane

There will be days when you will feel tremendously lonely.

When you would do anything to come home to the ritual that is “how was your day?” “Let me help you with that.” or a simple: “Would you like a cup of tea?”

Maybe you have never had to do the mundane alone. Maybe there has always been someone to stand beside you as though their being there would somehow make even the mundane profound. I now suppose that it is, that there is something to be said for having someone be willing to take a walk with you to the grocery store for a carton of milk when yours has gone sour…

…to pass the dishes to once they’ve been dried…

…to chop the veggies that you don’t like to when you are cooking a meal…

…to take the rubbish out just before it creates a stink…

…to casually comment over the trash television you continue to watch even after you’ve complained about how pointless it is…

That embedded in those moments of silent faith that you will indeed find them behind you when you turn to ask their opinion on a potential buy is a quiet sense of companionship that need not announce itself.

Sometimes we pride ourselves in our ability to be alone, to be ‘independent souls’, because we have had no other choice. Because we learned earlier on that those who were meant to show up for us wouldn’t always and so we decide that we would never need them to. And while there is something incredible to be said for solitude, there are moments of aloneness that will conspire and remind your soul to crave human connection. Because some things will only make sense as you peel them back and bounce them off somebody you love, and so there is no honour in announcing to the world that you need no one.

A friend flew down to visit for the weekend. I cried as she hugged me goodbye for the morning chats we’d had as I sat on the toilet seat while she brushed her teeth, for the silent train ride we took to the beach, for the howling laughter and sing-alongs at the bar… Because it’s amazing to have people to whom you need not explain the history behind your passing thoughts, who know you enough to connect the dots.

Because some days are ones of some very specific lessons…

…how no amount of intellectual conversation with someone you do not love will make up for the silent presence of someone you do…

…how no amount of touch from a man who adores the texture of your¬† skin will compare to that of a man who adores the passageways of your heart…

…how no amount of tenderness can soften the heart of someone who’s grown cold towards you…

How even in those moments, you have to be tender towards yourself, to remember that you cannot make someone care for you, and that that says nothing about your worth. Because you are worthy of love regardless.

And so it’s okay, even necessary, to sit with loneliness. To show up to the table and to mull it over in its entirety. The dining will be uncomfortable, but for only so long. See, it’s in this that we learn to soothe our souls, and are ultimately able to nurture companionship with those who will tend to our souls with the same reverence with which we will tend to theirs.

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