Relationships in the seventies were like rugby scrimmages. We were all players and many players got muddied and some got bloodied.
In the backyard I created a holy place for birds by placing seven small stones in a circle — seven representing completeness, wholeness, perfection — about two feet in diameter, in the center of which I scatter bird seed of a most beneficial variety.
A reclusive life is not generally a matter of choice. Maybe it is for monks and deep thinkers and social stinkers. But certainly not for you.
Most of your life you had companionship. A mother all through your fatherless teenage years and a first wife you married too young, the inevitable divorce and then a string of young ladies during the ten years between marriages, and finally and marvelously, a second wife, a soulmate you thought of as your only wife and with whom you shared a life for thirty years until she left the planet two years ago for another dimension, or so you imagine when sufficiently stoned.
Since that day you have lived alone. The first requisite of the hermit life is to have an animal in the house, a pet. You prefer the word companion, generally four-legged, unless your companion is a bird. You’ve always wanted a parrot but couldn’t bear the idea of having a caged creature.
It doesn’t matter what kind of animal. Most people have a dog or a cat, but a white rabbit would be fine, especially if it takes you down the rabbit hole, or even a fish, but again, a creature confined is not for you.
The point is you need another living creature in the house, someone to look after, someone to talk to even though they don’t know what the hell you’re saying, they hear your voice and you hear theirs.
You have a cat, which you got for your wife when she fell ill and was unsteady on her feet and couldn’t handle a dog rushing about. You inherited the cat, a laid-back, entertaining, mystical companion, someone you care about and are a company for, as she is for you.
The days and nights become a timeless dreamlike sequence. You eat and you drink and you watch movies and you smoke and you read and go to bed and get up the next day not knowing why and do it all over again.
That’s the exterior observable life. Inside your head, you’re screaming with loneliness.