The Hermit

A while back I had a fascinating conversation over a cup of coffee with a new friend of mine. She told me that overall she was practically a Hermit, and proud of it. She informed me that except for me and a limited few number of people, she communicated sparingly with the rest of the world. She went on to tell me that she used to run her own food store for over thirty years and frankly, she felt that she had “tapped out” her supply and reserves of dealing with people. Thirty years of business and friendships, that at the end of the journey, had left her feeling accomplished, empty, and exhausted. Her name is Gayle.

Gayle informed me that after retiring, for the first time in her life she was finding peace and tranquility. The years of being in business had taken their toll and left her feeling that the only way for her to be happy was to be alone. The thirty years with her store had left her no time to develop a social life, and she never got married. Her personal life, she felt, was sacrificed for a successful business. I could not help but observe that with each sip of coffee, as Gayle opened up and told me about her life her sad eyes revealed what she had gone through. Tears welled up when she told me that if she had to do it all over again, she would have gladly forgone some of the money, for a little romance and companionship. I told Gayle that it’s not too late to find Love…perhaps it’s at this time in her life when she would appreciate it the most. She fired back, “Hermits don’t need Love, they need Peace.” I replied, “You can have both.” She thought about it, and gazed out the coffee shop window. Then I had an idea….I said, “Gayle, how about coming over to my home Friday night….a couple of us girls get together from time to time, just to chat and share a few laughs. Nothing heavy….just a little conversation to help us get through the week.” Gayle said that she would think about it.

So, lo and behold, Gayle showed up the following Friday night, nervous, but friendly. I watched as the time went by and slowly the tightness in her shoulders started to relax. She shared with us some wonderful, timeless stories, and we did the same with her. At the end of the evening Gayle remarked, “Is it okay if I come next Friday?” We all gave each other hugs and said, “See you next week.” Gayle drove away with a warm smile on her face.

Since that first Friday Gayle has come back time and time again, and now she is “one of the girls.” Just a few nights ago she brought up the term “Hermit,”….she laughed and said, “Ladies, I am a Recovering Hermit.” Gayle feels she has started a new chapter in her life, and recently a wonderful man has come into the picture. I guess I was right…. one can have Love and Peace, after all.

To Good Friends,

Jennifer Avalon

© 2007 Jennifer Avalon

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