Return to Solitude

Sunday, January 14th

“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

On Sunday morning Anna woke in her own bed on Bear Island with a pounding headache, scratchy throat and a pouring nose. She threw off the covers violently, feeling like she was on fire. Attempting to sit up was pure agony, every muscle in her body was weak and aching and as her head rose so did the contents of her stomach. Dear goddesses, take me now, she thought. Thirst forced her to stumble downstairs and desperately seek water. She was however, grateful that this sickness hadn’t hit her on her travel day yesterday or any of her holiday in Nowhere.

Anna distracted herself with thoughts of her trip as she collapsed into the stool in front of her computer and glanced at her postings about her time in Nowhere. Barb had talked her into a new social network called Cross Roads and she had been trying to use it a bit. She even invited a few friends and family and kindly they had humoured her. Facebook had too many ghosts for her. It had just become easier not to look there anymore.

A smattering of photos represented far more than she could express. But she had the lingering memories.

On Tuesday, January 9th she started with breakfast at the farmhouse, and then helped with errands and the doctor in the small city of Humboldt with Barb before lunch out and a matinee screening of The Last Jedi. They had both been meaning to see it and together they got teary at every scene with the late Carrie Fisher, but thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

She had borrowed Barb’s ice skates and when they got back and went for a few laps around the pond before heading back to the farmhouse to cook Thai curry for everyone. As she stepped out of her boots at the back door she noticed her neighbour from Bear Island, Winter, in the distance on the path because he was walking by a light. At this point she figured she’d catch him the next day. Anna, Barb and Alex played board games after supper. Joe came for food and ate lots but didn’t want to play. Alex eventually had to excuse himself due to indigestion from the curry. He was not a spicy food guy.

On Wednesday, January 10th she had breakfast at the farm again and helped with farm chores and feeding animals in the early morning. Anna and Barb had a Spa Day out in another small town in the mid to late morning. They’d arrived back in Nowhere for a late lunch in the Prairie Moon Café and just sit down in a booth as Winter slipped by them and was out the door. His unconscious evasion of meeting her was becoming a joke with Barb and she started pretending to point him out even when he was long gone just to punk her cousin. That night when they made dinner at the farmhouse they decided to embark on a Stranger Things Season 2 marathon as Barb was not caught up.

On Thursday, January 11th she and Barb had a plan to hermit and continue the marathon but were slightly interrupted by visits from “Uncle Leo” and his date, and then later Champlain sisters. Alex’s Uncle Leo was bringing his new girlfriend Ethel around to meet the family. Barb treated this as a very common place occurrence and later told Anna Leo had been married 5 times…so far. They stopped in for tea but then continued on for a meal at the café. Ava and Renee Champlain were bringing over a Pampered Chef order for Barb from a sales party. Ava was a direct sale rep. Barb felt compelled to make them some lunch since they were there at lunch time. It ended up being a long lunch where Ava talked Anna into an herb stripper and an apple corer. She didn’t need them, but it was one of those situations she got sucked into. They finally got their Stranger Things marathon time back and ended up calling Alex and just ordering in from the café; since he could walk it over. Alex found it all rather funny. The cousins stayed up a little late to finish the season and enjoy the last night of their visit. It had been a great week and they were sad to end it.

Anna made to leave on Friday, January 12th. She and Barb slept in and late, before she packed up and had a lovely breakfast with Barb in the café. Anna decided on a whim to try a last ditch attempt to meet her neighbour and went to knock on the door of room 1, which she was sure was his. There was no answer. She couldn’t even bring herself to tell Barb. It would be too delightful for her after all. So she had simply walked past the café window and waved to Barb and Alex, and the good folks of Nowhere having already given goodbye hugs after breakfast. The roads were decent, the sky was clear and she drove away from Nowhere to the cheeky and dulcet tones of Elle King. It was time to go home.

Anna snapped back to the present with an earth shaking sneeze. She glanced at her laptop and noticed the chat tab glowing with a new message. 

It was Barb of course asking if she’d finally met her neighbour. She blew her nose and then replied. Today was not the day for such things. With a shudder she padded off to start the kettle for tea.


Be sure to also read Winter's perspective here:


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