Another heartbeat.

If you’re lonely, you’re not alone.

In our Facebook Twitter world, feelings of isolation and disconnection are epidemic. People today claim to have fewer close friends than a decade ago.

Lonely sucks.

ANOTHER HEARTBEATAnd it doesn’t help a lot to have predictable partners for Tuesday lunch and Thursday Hot Yoga. My friend who lives alone and is reclusive by nature has all kinds of pleasant pals male and female who are always up for a walk, a coffee or an evening at the opera. But she goes home alone to be un-compromised by an opposing opinion or selfish need and knowing that everything will be exactly as she left it. The toilet seat will be down.

The comfort we find in another has nothing to do with comfort at all. As much as we like to control our environment we eventually and eagerly invite a disruption of the normal order of things and the accompanying proof that we remain vulnerable; that happiness risks hurt. The bull is welcome in the china shop.

I was talking to my friend about my dog.

Axl is an English Bulldog who snores and smells and mistakes ‘no’ for ‘whatever you want.’ He can’t be with me in the place I rent. Instead, he lives a dog’s life with my son who cares for him with a passion and owns his own mixed-breed mutt who grudgingly accepts Axl as long as he stays off the black leather couch.

‘I miss Axl,’ I said.

‘Another heartbeat in the room,’ she replied.


I’m surprised that line has escaped becoming a Bob Dylan lyric. It is so weighty and worthy of books. A reminder how pressed we are to define a ‘good life’ by what we have and the intricacy of what we have wrought. We not only forget the pure and simple pleasures within our grasp; we avoid them.

We fight against the fact that life is full of days that are too hot and too cold and places that are damp and have an odd smell. We resent that in the company of others, we must now and then sacrifice what we want for what we need. While we accept that dogs drool and fart freely and forgive them, we’re less kind with humans and so we sleep alone, forgetting that the greatest pleasure of all is to lie like spoons and fall asleep to the beat of another heart.

12 years ago

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