Walking Alone

I have been on my own most of my adult life. I’m comfortable with it. I like my own company and don’t ever really feel alone.

Even when I’m walking by myself someone seems to be there with me. I am constantly having conversations in my mind with someone. “What kind of bird is that singing? What am I going to wear to the movies tonight? I wonder if Monty will want to go? I have to go to the dentist tomorrow.”

What is this never feeling alone thing I’ve got going on? Does it stem from my childhood and my imaginary friend, Michael who was always with me?

“Who are you talking too, Stacy?” My mother might ask, as she was watching me from inside the kitchen screen door.

“It’s just Michael,” I would reply, thinking I was about to be in trouble from the tone of her voice. I would have been somewhere between seven and ten years old.

“Oh him again,” my mother would say with a shrug as she turned and busied herself in the kitchen.

Did my mother know and see Michael as I did? She made me feel like it was okay to have a Michael. Had she heard me talking to him before? Had she decided it was healthy for me to have an imaginary friend?

Do I have my horoscope to thank for never being alone? My horoscope sign is Gemini. Does that mean I have a twin trailing along with me through life? A little troll person helping me to make the right choices? If so, he screwed up a few times.

Is it because I feel so close to nature? Is that why I never feel alone? The trees, the rivers, the snow all have a life of their own. I can feel their strength. The snow-packed dirt road has a voice of its own, too. I hear it as I trudge on top of the snow during my five-mile morning loop. Each day my footsteps have a different sound. I’m not alone.

My horses, cats and new puppy are my people. The cats live outside, but they sit on my stacks of firewood looking in the window as I write. They are out there now, sunning themselves.

“Hi, Ellie. Hi Tom and Jerilee. Where’s Fluffy? Did your water freeze already? Where is Olive?”

Aggie, the seven-month-old Border Collie puppy is sleeping in the chair next to me. I know she’ll be ready for an outside adventure when she wakes.

When I walk out my front door, the horses whinny to me hoping for an apple, carrot or slice of hay. I’m not alone.

So if someone sees me talking to myself as I’m walking down the road, will they think, “ That crazy old woman must be so lonely she’s talking to herself!” Or will they think, “She must be talking to the dog?”

I don’t care what they think. Every small town needs something to talk about. I’ll take a hit for the gossip patrol!

If anyone ever does ask, I’ll just say, “ I’m not alone.”