Betty sat in her favorite chair by the window, reading a book. She savored the silence around her. It had not always been this way.
As the oldest of six children, she’d hardly ever had time to herself. She had been responsible for taking care of her two brothers and three sisters, as their parents worked the fields, preparing a new crop that they hoped would bring in a good penny at harvest time.
Betty had loved her siblings, but they had always needed something from her, never allowing her to just sit down and read a book. She wiped tear-streaked faces and changed diapers, seemingly without end, with nary a minute that was not filled with a chore that had to be done.
Mama had told her that this was good practice for when she married and became a mother someday. But, Betty had already decided that she would remain single and childless. She simply craved solitude too much to think about inflicting this kind of drudgery on herself, if she could help it. When she told Mama that she was going to be an old maid, Mama had told her that she would be lonely without children.
But, somehow Betty knew that there was a difference between being alone and being lonely. Loneliness was a hankering for someone else’s company, to have people around to talk to or serve. Betty just wanted to be alone, enjoying the sweet quietness that penetrates the soul and brings peace and tranquility.
As she watched a young woman passing her house with two screaming children holding on to her skirts and another in a pram, Betty knew that she had made the right decision for herself, remaining single and alone her whole life. As she turned the page on her latest cozy mystery, she contemplated the quietness around her, and she smiled.
Fictional story written for Tale Weaver #215 from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie: Alone. Photo Credit: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie.