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MUSED Literary Magazine.
Non Fiction


Diane Payne

Wednesday evening, I receive texts from my daughter with links to articles about how lonely people develop dementia sooner than social people. I text back that at least the dementia will help them forget their loneliness more quickly.

Sunday evening I receive texts from my daughter asking if I socialized over the weekend. Then a text stating that talking to the neighbor kids while walking the dogs doesnŽt count as socializing. You must spend time with adults.

On my birthday, she sends a photo of herself out with friends enjoying drinks and dinner. Wish you were here to celebrate your birthday. YouŽre not alone, are you? As a matter of fact, I am alone, but who wants to send such a text, especially on oneŽs birthday?

In my twenties I was socially active like my daughter. Until recently, I was always socially active. At her age, I remember reading May SartonŽs Journal of Solitude, envying a life with a bit more isolation yet filled with more productivity. IŽd grab my notebook and head off for a long hike. Somehow, on these long hikes, IŽd stumble across another lone hiker, and weŽd start laughing together. Or, IŽd meet the person on duty at the fire lookout tower, and IŽd climb the stairs and marvel at the view, the books scattered about, and weŽd open the wine saved for a special occasion.

I wonder if my daughter worries she could end up asocial like me. She knows my gregarious old life when surrounded by friends. But life has changed. Now she sees my text: HavenŽt seen anyone in six days. Not one soul.