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On my own, with no one here beside me.

Every night, after Nani and I watch three or four television shows together, chatting and joking throughout, there comes a time when I need to take her leave. It seems like we both have trouble accepting the temporary finality of “good night,” as we say it over and over, checking in on one another repeatedly as we each prepare for bed.

I miss her as soon as I close her bedroom door, and am plunged into solitude for the first time in the day as I walk down the length of the hallway to my room.

But there’s a new energy present as soon as I step across the threshold. I have put the heater on before dinner, so the room is already nice and toasty, and the tube light illuminates it fully. I do a set of stretches and some toning exercises on the floor before climbing into bed.

This is when I am alone with myself. There is absolutely nothing expected of me, and I can read, sing, and think whatever I want. Reading has become a joy. As I approach the end of a chapter of my philosophy book, I count the pages left -- not to see how quickly I can finish, as I would have in school, but to see how long I can possibly make the chapter last. This is new. This is what I had hoped reading would become.

I pause my reading from time to time to check the messages on my phone or to sing a song. With no sheet music or YouTube videos around, I discover the sheer number of songs I know by heart. My performances to myself include everything from Broadway to Indie, usually with choir songs scattered in. I let myself sing more than just a line or two, and I know I am alone.

Here and there, my reading reminds me of experiences I have had, and I can sit there and laugh at them. I can think to the end of my thoughts. My bedtime is a self-imposed eleven o’clock that can be shifted. I can write. If only for now, everything feels so wonderfully simple.

And I miss the day as soon as I switch the light off.

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