Written in response to today’s Daily Prompt: The New York Times is going to feature your blog on its home page, and you’ve been asked to publish a new post — it’ll be the first thing tens of thousands of new readers see. Write it.
Apartment 505. Fifth Floor. Lewis Wharf. Boston.
The Lewis Building is a long, low stone apartment building, which, like many of the other buildings along the wharves in Boston harbor, was once used as a warehouse. Each apartment faces either north or south, and each has its own small balcony – a concrete floor with simple wrought iron railings, hanging out over the boats docked at the pier below and granting a view of Boston harbor beyond.
Lauren moves about on her tiny balcony, tending to the evening’s tasks. It is the same as it is each evening. That is the way she wants it. Peaceful.
Her large chocolate lab, Brewster, lies patiently in front of the door, raising his eyebrows to faithfully watch her as she steps back and forth across him – out the door and over his long, brown body to light the small Weber grill. Across him again to set the small, square bistro table, a setting for one. Across him again, and back into the apartment to prepare the food for the grill.
Lauren’s bistro table is gunmetal grey, with two matching chairs. A bright red, orange and yellow striped cloth runs down its centre, hanging over the edge. The table is nicely laid, with a single crystal wine glass, silver cutlery and red plates. One chair, the far one, the one that offers its occupant a view into the harbor, sits at an angle to the table. The other chair sits rigidly with its back against the stone wall, unused.
Dinner is almost ready. The smoke from the Weber wafts over the tops of the sailboat masts, over the old pier posts, over the brown harbor water.
Lauren is inside, putting the finishing touches on a salad. The walls in her apartment are white, other than the exterior wall which has been brought back to its original grey granite. She has left the stone bare, beautiful on its own, but has adorned the other walls with masks, brightly coloured textiles and other collected items from her far-flung travels. A small chandelier hangs over a sitting area. It sparkles in the light, illuminated both by the candles she has lit inside and by the warm glow of the setting sun, throwing small rainbows onto the dark wooden floor and white sofas below.
She sits down to her dinner, pausing to savour her wine as she looks out over the water. A casual observer might wonder whether she lives alone, or if she is only alone for dinner tonight. A more practiced onlooker, however, would notice little things – the ease with which she moves and eats alone, the one chair facing coldly towards nothing, the general mood of the tableau.
This is the life Lauren has chosen. She lives alone with Brewster in companionable silence, works at a demanding job in the city for which she is sent abroad quite often, and comes home to read and to be left alone.
More and more women are choosing a life of solitude, a life over which they have some control. Those in jobs that take up much of their time, whether business people, musicians, artists or writers, are seeking the serenity of an empty home as a refuge from work, or as a place of work.
Join me over the coming year as I follow this trend where it leads me, bringing you stories of the strong, independent women who are living on their own, who are choosing a life of their making.
Fellow bloggers’ approaches to today’s Daily Prompt:
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