Two Solitudes

Synopsis: Solitudes, and the dynamics of relating, in 2 acts. A look at the dance of coming back together.

Of Wayne’s many books, the one closest to today’s topic is: The. Best. Relationship. Ever.

Just back from a lovely 2 hours on the playa (beach,) soaking up rays through a few clouds, swimming in the ocean, and… people watching. I was also thinking about this article, and the cosmos provided.

Two Solitudes


The beach is almost deserted, save a few sun-soakers. The tide is out; the surf gently crashes.

Her skin shouts that she’s a new arrival to Playa Samara; she’d be considered pale in Ontario. She’s wrapped in the garb of the sun fearing–tee shirt, shorts kissing her knees, floppy hat. Pale face, pale arms, pale legs poke out, announcing her first beach walk.

She’s walking slowly, distracted. She watches her feet as if she expects them to do something special. Then she wrings her hands. She glances at the ocean, then finds her feet more interesting.

A scowl of sadness is etched on her face. Her steps falter, then resume. She weaves a bit, as if where she is going is unimportant, so long as it’s away from whatever is behind her. She cants left, and soon is walking along the water line, still seeing nothing.

A few minutes later, there’s a new arrival to Playa Samara; he’d be considered pale in Ontario. He’s wrapped in the garb of the sun fearing–tee shirt, cargo shorts kissing his knees, Tilley hat. Pale face, pale arms, pale legs poke out, announcing his first beach walk.

He pauses, then stares out to sea through a camera. A picture or two later, he continues his slow march. He watches his feet as if he expects them to do something special. He glances at the ocean, takes another photo, caresses his camera, then studies the sand at his feet.

She’s stopped walking well down the beach. She’s standing at the water’s edge, hands on hips. Staring at nothing.

His walks some more, and his path begins to veer toward the water. His head is on a pivot, looking everywhere but… there.

She does not move, does not look right, nor left.

He reaches her, but stands apart from her, behind her, staring past her to what must be the most interesting chunk of water on the planet.

She drops her arms to her sides.

He walks close, then past her by one step, extends his arm over her shoulder, and pulls her in.

Their contact is tentative, a testing the waters kind of contact. And then, a hug. Words.

They walk side by side to the end of the beach, and return, hand in hand. Deep in conversation.

I’d make the case that this little drama isn’t a bad description of the trajectory of dialogue. Of course, as a distant observer, all I really know is what I saw. For all I know, they were discussing last night’s Raptors loss.

But where my head went (as I invented a back-story for them) was, good on them.

Here’s the fictional version I invented as I watched them.


They’d come to Playa Samara with high hopes. They’d been stuck of late; the same few issues were swamping their relationship. A week in paradise would surely fix things.

And then, there it was again, right after breakfast. They’d not come to paradise unburdened, because their baggage had just arrived.

Words were said, things became heated.

So, she took a walk. Down the beautiful beach, mind churning, stomach churning. As usual, she thought, he didn’t get it.

He sat in their room, and sulked. They’d been over this ground before; she was unreasonable.

She wandered slowly down the beach, wondering what to do, how to change the pattern of their communication. Her meandering path seemed to her to mirror their relationship.

He decided to stretch his legs. He grabbed his camera, because this had absolutely nothing to do with his going after her. So he followed her without following her. Took pictures.

She reached the water line, and her anger turned to sadness and disappointment. They seemed to have lost the will to work things through. Too much blaming, finger pointing. Even now, he wasn’t beside her, where she wanted him to to be.

He found himself pulled down the beach; without knowing it, he was practically stepping in her foot prints. He saw that she had stopped, dead ahead.

But he wasn’t quite ready to talk; he needed to make some kind of point. He walked past her.

And then, he took a step back. His partner and best friend was starting out at a gray ocean. He reached out his arm.

She did not pull away. She did not even speak. She just slid into his tentative embrace.

And then, they talked.

So, who knows what was really up? This fictional part is pure projection, and pretty close to a couple of disjointed conversations Dar and I have had — ones that started to go off the rails because both of us turned 10 at the same time.

Each time, there was walking away, sulking, sanctimonious self-righteousness. And Dar likely did some non-helpful stuff too. 😉

And then, the return. The quick return. To contact, both physical and conversational. Walking, walking, talking, talking.

Until we both were satisfied, and found resolution, and peace.

Both parties have to be willing to stand side by side, drop the blaming and accusing, and make contact. Adults need to show up, so there can be conversation, not blame. The dialogue must go down the beach and back–until there is resolution.

I really hope the couple I watched, if my story was anywhere close to true, reached resolution. From the look of the interaction, they sure were on the right path… the pathless path.

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.