My mother used to have a Lipton tag stuck on the refrigerator that said, "Loneliness and solitude are two separate things. One is defeat, the other is victory." Needless to say, I had no idea what that meant.

Now I do.

A miracle has befallen me and as I write, I am perfectly alone in a motel room by the airport. Airplanes take off in perodic rushes, it smells like new cheap carpet, and the alarm clock requires the usual code-breaking skills (I always cheat and get the wake-up call). I couldn't be happier. Dinner will be eat-in tonight, courtesy of the Safeway deli down the street, and I plan to eat my veggie sticks and turkey Lunchable pack right on my king-size bed, in front of the boob tube, over which I will maintain complete control. I just worked out on the tacky Stairmaster and had myself a dip in the blessedly empty hot tub. (The sign was clear: Do Not Use Spa Alone. I'm such a rebel.)

Of course, for the first fifteen minutes I was here, I was desperately lonely. It was acute. I wanted to call everyone I knew and then sit down and write a couple of letters. But then it passed.

When Scott asked me what I wanted for my birthday I told him I wanted twenty-four hours to myself. Well, thanks to this last-minute class for Kittcom, I will probably be logging those twenty-four hours in the next few days. Really, it's such a gift. I feel like solitude is necessary to feel the bliss of togetherness. It's the dusk that sets off the afternoon light.

And like dusk, it feels like magic.

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