Living Alone (or, Egg in a Basket)

Living alone has its advantages.

At dusk on Sundays I turn on a string of lanterned Christmas lights. During the week I work as hard as I’ve ever worked. Twice a day I ride the train, alone but not. Twice a day we’re all pressed together like swaying sardines in suits, and sometimes I look at the others, and sometimes I don’t. And sometimes I think, here we are, little fish, flying through this city in a train on stilts, and then I find it impossible not to laugh.

My thoughts have been running this way often. Here we are. Here I am. When you live alone it’s easier to recognize a life as your own, to locate your life in the noise of other lives.

It has to do with quiet, I think. It has to do with the deep, soul-level quiet you feel when you come home to nobody. When you come home, and you listen, and it’s quiet, impossibly. You can flee all the company in the world but your own, and you’re a quiet little animal.

There’s a cleanliness to living this way. There’s a cleanliness to living alone, maybe to being lonely. Quiet, noisy, clean, dirty, they all have their cost. But what I’m telling you, reader, is that lonely has its rewards, too, its own strange, lazy beauty.

At dusk on Sundays I turn on a string of lights. I turn on a string of lights and start to think about dinner. Dinner for one. Something small, small and cheap and soul satisfying and maybe a little whimsical, a little wrong, maybe something that makes your heart beat a little faster.

And when you live alone it’s fine when all you have in the fridge is eggs and bacon and days-old boiled chicken. It’s okay. Because what could be better than bacon and eggs on a Sunday evening, especially if that egg is nestled in buttered toast and fried. What could be better.

You take your seat by the window. The trees are leafless and cracked and quietly alive. The shallots are sprouting from neglect. It’s beginning to snow. And there’s nothing but the companionable breathing of the radiator, the occasional venting hiss, the snow falling, the radiator’s warmth, the drowsy run of yolk. All these things that bliss you more than they ought to. It’s quiet, impossibly. And what could be better. What more could you ask for. What more.

Egg in a Basket


Place skillet over medium heat. Melt a pat of butter in the skillet until it sizzles. Cut a 1.5-inch hole in piece of sliced bread.

Fry the bread until browned on one side, then flip. Crack an egg into the hole. Allow the egg to cook for about a minute. Flip the toast with the egg in it. Cook another minute until whites are fully cooked but yolk still runs. Serve with bacon.

16 thoughts on “Living Alone (or, Egg in a Basket)

  1. Kaitlin says:

    I love, love, love, love, love your writing. I don’t know how many times I’ve told you that. This is how I felt at the beginning of this school year; it’s nice to have some time alone, even though it can get really lonely.

    I hope you’re doing well.

  2. eboast says:

    A wonderfully poignant post, as usual. I ate this same meal a lot when I first moved to Japan (and still do, sometimes). So soothing, so comforting.

  3. Mike McGee says:

    I don’t live alone, but I like being alone, so I can relate.

    AND, I can definitely make this since I make toast and eggs (separately) all the time haha.

  4. John Mears says:

    Solitude is one of the most under-rated pleasures in human experience. We were just talking about that tonight. It is in solitude that we have a chance to reflect on & express what is uniquely our own, and therefore (paradoxically) universal.

  5. JIm Brown says:

    I really enjoyed this posting. Having lived with and loved the same women for 48 years now, I dread the thought of being alone. If that were to happen I am not sure how I would cope.

  6. Bill says:

    Great post…looked so good I had to make it for myself (but with ham instead of bacon). It’s nice to see that even your pompous all-knowing troll, with his infinite wisdom about the truths of the universe, approves on some level.

  7. Nancy Mitros says:

    Angela, we called these “special eggs” whenever we made them for our kids – a staple in our household! We called the cut out piece of bread “the moon” and we always fried that piece with the egg. In the movie “Moonstruck” (one of my favorites) they sauteed red pepper with the egg. Happy to serve our version any time you visit.

  8. Geni - Sweet and Crumby says:

    As always, I find your writing beautiful. Such a young old soul it seems. My daughter’s favorite breakfast is egg-in-toast as we refer to it. By the way, I love to fry up the little tiny piece of circular bread as well on both sides and serve it as mini toast on the side. Have a great Wed. Angela 🙂

  9. Bill Savage says:

    Will try this as a variation on my usual weekend morning omelet. AS someone who also lives alone, I dig. . . .though on weekends, I’m making omelets for two.

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