As I prepare for cohabitation—which, given that I’ve never done it before, feels as monumental as graduating from college—I keep on encountering evidence of people who were not capable of it. First, there was that article in the New York Times that warned against it, which prompted an afternoon of wailing. Then, I came upon Martha Gellhorn, the writer, war correspondent, and third wife of Ernest Hemingway, who said of her difficulty domesticating:
“There is too much space in the world. I am bewildered by it, and mad with it. And the urge to run away from what I love is a sort of sadism I no longer pretend to understand.”
The funny thing is that all of my internal struggling against moving in with Caleb is really pretty half-hearted. I always say that you can tell the way you feel about something by the advice that other people give you—in subtle queues, in the tone of their voice, in the way that they phrase a question, they signal to other people how they would like them to respond. And every time I ask someone, even my therapist (although not my parents—I actually might never tell them that I’m moving in), if it’s the right decision, the answer is always an unequivocal yes.
Because in my secret heart of hearts, I’m really looking forward to it. It feels like an exciting beginning, the kind of thing that will change my life for the better. I’ve struggled for so long by myself, often depressed or disinterested, that the idea of having someone else—to do laundry with, to decorate with, to share bills with—feels like an incredibly luxurious relief. For the first time in my adult years, life might actually become so easy, that it can be lived rather than fought against.
What I’m really having trouble letting go of is the kind of childish idea—for I realize that to withhold yourself and your personal space is, in many ways, a way of delaying the eventuality that you must go through stages of life, and, in doing so, confront your own death WAA WAA—that I’m meant to live life as independently as did women like Martha Gellhorn.