For the longest time I was that person who would go stay with a friend / family or have them come over if I was going to be alone for any amount of time. I would never be able to sleep alone, terrified of ghosts and ghouls and my own shadow. I blame it on not ever being alone or sleeping alone till I was 20. I lived with an extended family which meant that I always shared my bed or atleast the room with aunts/ sibling or myriad cousins. Which is a good thing, considering the rambling old house we lived in that would make the bravest soul pee in their pants if they had to walk to the toilet (at the other end of the house) in the dark. Funnily I cannot recall ever having slept in the same bed as my parents, except when we traveled.
When I moved to the hostel to do my post graduation, and subsequently the cities I moved for work, I always had room mates, tho I slept in my own single bed. For short durations I did have to sleep alone, but I spent most of the night reading or talking to my boyfriend on the phone and didn't really 'feel' alone.
Post marriage, I can hardly recall being separated from K. Even when he traveled, I would always have a friend stay over, or go stay with someone. So much so that almost everyone knew how I hated being alone and they would very sweetly volunteer to come and stay over. I was embarrassed about this when I turned 30.
And then slowly I felt myself seeking my own company on evenings I was alone... spending time reading or just doing stuff around the house, sometimes just catching up on sleep. Sometimes I would go out with friends or sometimes alone, eating out and then come back home to sleep peacefully without the fear of my own shadow.
Both my MIL and amma would call multiple times to check how I was doing, if they should come over to stay (Amma) or send food (MIL). With Sage now things have changed a lot. I no longer feel completely alone. And tho K travels a lot more than before, its just the evenings which drag on sometimes. When he is around, returning home from work is a little unpredictable, most days around 8 PM but sometimes later or even early mornings when work demands this. So I am used to spending the evening / night by myself.
These days, I have a pattern for being a solitary being. I cook in bulk on the day he leaves, leaving me free of kitchen chores for the rest of his trip. I have been known to cook myself just some rice/ roti even on a 10 day trip he made to China, and supplement that with curries / dal that was cooked ahead and frozen. I eat all kinds of odds and ends and completely avoid the kitchen except for making my chai and coffee.
The house is spic and span, perils of living with a very messy partner is that the house looks like a hurricane hit it when he's around. Only one half of the bed gets made/ messed and I can have the air conditioning at the temperature that does not freeze bodies!
I read, watch movies, sometimes 3 per night and stay awake till dawn, walk sage, have coffee and then sleep till lunch time. Even my maid told me she doesn't want me to make her breakfast as I should "take rest" because when "bhaiya is back I will have enough work in the kitchen". This is not because poor K creates work, but I am particular about eating as much as possible at home, avoiding cheap and oily food being delivered. So we do have freshly made breakfast and packed office lunches everyday. Food gets recycled for dinner with leftovers and bits and bobs. I sometimes ask the maid and driver to take a break for a few days since I don't want anyone hovering around me.
Even Sage realises that the pattern changes when Amma is alone and gets his last walk of the day at 9 PM instead of the customary 10:30, because Amma will then binge watch movies all night!
I am finding it very comforting that I enjoy being by myself in a happy way. That I don't necessarily seek company, activities to fill my silence. I don't even take phone calls unless it is work related and my mom knows I haven't died if I don't answer the phone.
Its a shift mentally, physically and emotionally for me. One that I am glad has happened. I cannot say that I do not look forward to these breaks of solitude!