It's a quiet place where I don't have to sit, hunched, arms over my head, eyes closed, everything frightened of being disturbed. It's total silence and no door to be opened or window to be peered through. It's alone.
And then it seems that my thoughts have voices of their own and come, unbidden, crowding round me, just as much as real people would. They are real, they are what went before and what might have been, populated by all the true or ungenerous souls I have known in my life. And many I didn't know for long enough.
Somehow, this lasts longer than I thought, my struggle to hear their voices matched only by my difficulty in staying still and allowing this one-sided conversation to take place. This is my quiet place until I have absolute privacy and then it becomes the arena where all that troubles me is worked out, thrashed into submission so I can understand it and defeat it.
I am still sitting here, exhausted now, trying to rest between times when I can think clearly and the many hours and days when it seems the queue of people, past and present, will never end with their incessant clamour for my attention.
This is my quiet place and I need to reclaim it but first I need to hear the words I usually push aside while I'm trying to go from day to day.
Eventually the door will reappear, the windows will let in the outside world and I will need to stand up and leave.
If my quiet place is full and noisy, if life has to be understood by stepping in here and working it all out, then where do I go for real quiet and actual solitude? Where do I recharge? What do I do when it all becomes too much?
This is my quiet place and for now there is no door, no window, no floor or walls, only me and the sanctity of a place where no other person, regardless of how loud their voice might be, can reach in and touch me.
When I leave, I will be counting the seconds until I can come back.