2.4.01 Eventually a road will turn north, that much closer to home. For now just fleeing the plain, the wide road, and familiar paths for narrow clefts in the mountains, where steep slopes and the high trees growing on them squeeze in like soft darkness under the covers. As the way becomes more remote, the safer I feel. I've nowhere to be and besides, they gave me a V6.

At a giant grocery store in a very small town, the people spoke familiarly with me, taking me for one of them. For some reason, a slight panic at the thought they may discover I'm an imposter. But not that they cared really, and later I chuckled remembering that being native to this region I've no guise with which to betray them.

I realized, in early January, after traveling to Asia and hiking solo at the ocean, that solitude is where I feel strongest, the widest space between me and the people I know, the safest. (I like my bed in the corner, the blankets thick and tucked tight around my body. When I was a girl I liked to climb under the desk with my knees at my chin or hide in small, blackened closets.)

I thought I felt lonely because I couldn't be alone. But that's not the case. Instead I don't know how to be with others; I don't know how to maintain solitude in company.

If you met me, you wouldn't observe this.

Throughout the last month I've contemplated this discovery. It makes perfect sense and refutes what I thought were contradictions in myself. It explains some of the loneliness I feel when I'm with other people.

Now when I want to be alone, when I want to traipse off to places where I am unknown, I know I've compromised myself in some way and need to return to center.