I shower, put on my favourite dark clothes and carefully trace a line of kohl around the circumference of my eyes.
Tonight I'll go to Kosta's yoga studio/house warming party. I promised him I'd go.
I look in the mirror and wonder how people see me from the outside.
Mark and I could only see each other through the eyes of love, he was in his 50's but he was no more than 17 to me, young, energetic, creative, wild...
Sadness wells up in my eyes - this is not a good time to break down in tears. Can't have red eyes at a yoga party.
But my broken heart is still bleeding.
I let a few tears escape but I don't give in to them.
Three deep breaths to control mind and emotions...I promised Kosta I'd go.
Black suede boots on and I'm ready.
Why am I going I ask myself.
Why stand in a crowded room and chit chat with acquaintences and strangers?
How much nicer it would be to curl up in bed with my book of poetry.
It's cold outside...and the thought of chit chat chills me to the core, even with yoga people.
I arrive and find a spot standing next to the heater. Everyone else seems to have found a comfy place seated with their partners and yoga friends on the floor or on bolsters around the very very low tables. A couple are improvising on a sitar and soft drums, swaying trancelike in the corner. The music is beautiful. The lighting is perfect. The food is Indian. It's all very yoga...
Simi and Kosta are lovely sociable yogis, and tonight they've brought together all their friends and followers, both Ashtanga and Iyengar yogis.
I see vaguely familiar faces that I can't quite place but assume they're from distant yoga classes...I see some of my former yoga students, one who makes a point of telling me how the 6 week intro course he did with me 5 years ago changed his life, he is absolutely beaming...I recognise some yoga teachers, past and present....
At last after half an hour Darrin arrives. I was hoping he'd come. His genuine smile immediately warms up my desolate corner of the studio party. We talk about love and death, about his long distance relationship with Brian, about art, astrology and poetry. He asks me how I am going with Mark's death (a question genuinely asked from his heart, but not one I can answer while surrounded by 50 people). We smile secretly to each other when his yoga students come over one by one to steal his attention and talk about their lives.
Another hour goes by, the music seems to be louder now, it's hard to hear the conversations. My ears don't want to. Drifting away from the conversation happening in front of me, I suddenly realise I need silence and peace URGENTLY - not music, chattering and an apple orchard of brightly beaming happy smiles. I wink and say goodbye to Darrin, we make quick plans to go walking together in a few weeks, and I slip away into the full moon night.
A tidal wave of relief washes over me instantly. I wish it could wash away the entire night.
I vow never to come out of my cave again.