Either I'm getting really good at this or that isn't such a bad drive.
I remember driving just a little more than 200 miles to visit my aunt one day with Lucia when she was maybe 15 or 16 months because my aunt was having a no good, rotten, terrible, bad day, spending maybe 4 or 5 hours in Rochester, NH and turning around and going back home. It wasn't so bad. I was in my late twenties. Maybe I'm just good at this when I've got the day fixed firmly in my head. Sort of like getting to Cape Breton and back; it was all part of the journey.
I think to understand the day I need to back up to Friday night. Fridays are hard for me. They've always been hard unless I handle myself properly. I give the week everything and on Friday night I just have to let go. NM was a really good way to let go. Do you know how much physical contact helps people like me? No? Probably not. That's OK. I didn't either but I do now. Being alone and quiet is also good, I just have to make sure I do it and I have to make sure I get enough sleep because physical contact speeds up the healing process and can make up for lack of sleep therefore get the sleep if I'm going to run a marathon the next day.
8 AM and I'm wide awake but not so sure about Elizabeth. I'm thinking again about how much sleep she gets or doesn't get and how much she needs to support calories burned, physically and emotionally. Food isn't enough. Details. I'm thinking details. The kid has to have it together before we leave for dance because we aren't coming back to the house before we leave for Peterborough. Can I have a nap between drop and pickup? Nope. Crap. OK. Keep going. Elizabeth is dropped at 9:30, I'm back at the house at 9:50 and sitting with coffee #2. Quietly. I have 90 minutes to pull it together.
This can be done.
Write something? No. Be still. TRY to be still. I run out of time thinking about love. These things happen.
I shower, get into my dress, and dry my hair. I have a small case of the shakes because I am all hopped up on coffee without food. This will be remedied shortly. I tape myself into my dress to avoid a wardrobe malfunction, last out the dog, and blow out of the house. I have Elizabeth at noon and when we stop at the lunch place we know we can't order anything resembling lunch because it takes 45 minutes now so we hope for something remotely healthy at the counter. Nooooooo.... All sugared up and ready to go.
This is OK. The foliage turns day by day the further we drive north. We begin a week and a half before peak and arrive one day after just three hours later. This is miraculous, this change in the seasons caused by light and time. And driving north.
I say, Elizabeth, this is the weekend or maybe next if you want to look at it that way, that we all drove up to Jamaica, VT 10 years ago and got married. And this is the weekend, pretty much, 3 years ago that I crossed the border for the very first time except I drove a different way so I could go straight into New Hampshire but this time we will pass through VT because I can. Look at the leaves. It snowed the next morning in the mountains.
As I am driving I am thinking, this is a whole new world again. I am going to the Fall Ball and it is a whole new world. Again. Will it be magic? Will I feel better? Will everything be OK? Because the first time I crossed these borders and went to the Fall Ball it was like washing myself clean. Yes. It will be a whole new world.
It was not.
I am a very funny woman. Just let me have that.
What was really lovely was knowing exactly where to park, where to put my shoes, how to get past the door guard, where to hang up my coat fast, and where to point Elizabeth to get changed.
What was really lovely was walking onto the floor, holding my hand out and taking The Boy With the Pink Hair's Older Brother's hand and getting in line. We talked a bit about the drive and the kids and then we just danced.
What was really lovely was just allowing myself to be booked ahead sort of continuously because I wasn't sure when I was going to have to stop because my lungs still aren't right and there was an awful lot of dust kicking up. Nobody likes dancing with someone who continuously hacks into their elbow no matter how often you tell them you aren't sick. This booking ahead business isn't something I like to do but I got tapped on the shoulder dance after dance and because I really wasn't sure what was going to happen I just let it be.
When I thought I was going to take a break, I leaned against the back wall until some boy in his late twenties stared at me long enough I said, OK, fine but I make no promises, I'm having some trouble breathing. He asked if I was going to fall down dead and when I said no, he said, good, you'll be fine then. That was when Contra Corners clicked and that won't make sense to almost anybody but I'm thinking it clicked because there wasn't enough oxygen in my brain to a) think about it or b) worry about anything other than keeping my breathing under control. The thing about Contra Corners is you REALLY HAVE TO KNOW WHICH IS YOUR RIGHT HAND AND WHICH IS YOUR LEFT HAND AND WHERE THE HELL IS MY PARTNER? Strangely enough my hands did it on their own. I hope I can do this again when I have maximum oxygen flow to the brain.
I waltzed with a local teacher from Peterborough. Stop and think about this. Peterborough. Thornton Wilder. Our Town. Unfortunately I couldn't enjoy that as much as I would have liked because I kept having to put his sweaty, dripping frame back where it belonged which is not three inches from mine. The sweaty, dripping just made it worse, three inches from my frame is way too close by any standards. Unless I know you, REAL well.
I danced with The Other Brother and I know this one but I never, ever would have put This One in the same category as the other two. He's very different. I see him quite a bit more because he lives in New Hampshire. He's very quiet. I've never experienced him as anything other than very quiet until I danced with him and then I discovered if you GET playful with him, he will BE playful right back with you. Who knew? Now I know them all.
Now about those kids.
What was it I said?
Elizabeth. Break all the rules.
Yes. Yes I did. That is exactly what I said.
They danced twice and went out to get pizza and that is the last I saw of them until about 6 when I started hunting around in the balcony. There they were with two pizza boxes and two matching grins.
We got you pizza. Grin.
I'm thinking about an early Cosby routine when the little girl is caught with a cookie and she says...
... but I got it for youuuuuuu...
Elizabeth, we are probably going to need to leave at 7. I don't think my lungs can take any more of the dust. OK?
So you need to be at the coat rack where our stuff is at 7. OK?
And down the stairs they went.
She was, as usual, coatless. How far can they possibly go?
I stayed in the balcony a while longer and then went back down to dance. The last dance for me ended at 6:50. I didn't want to be late. The Older Brother asked if I wanted help looking for them. I said I was sure it would be just fine. He said to come find him if it wasn't.
What has occurred to me is there is some parenting going on here. Gentle parenting, but parenting all the same. I've learned A LOT about this guy in the last few days and I like him. He has his hands firmly around his little brother I think, and this is a good thing. If you are willing to drive an hour south to pick up your brother on a Friday and then an hour back and then 90 minutes to Greenfield... there's more than that, so much more than that but it's a start.
I went to the coats and I waited. No Elizabeth. I checked the bathroom. No Elizabeth. I went downstairs to the shoes and put mine on. No Elizabeth. I went back upstairs to the coats.
And that's when I got hit between the eyes with a two by four.
Seriously. I have GOT TO GROW SOME SKIN but mostly I have got to get the hell away from this guy. There's really no point repeating the conversation but when somebody wants to cause pain, they're going to cause pain. What I can't figure out is who's pain he's really looking for. Is he trying to cause enough pain on my end to be sure I'll never be able to look at NM again or is he trying to cause NM pain? Or both? He stood there after he'd done it, about four feet away from me and made a come here gesture with his hands. I will hold you, I will make it better, you can talk to me, he said. I don't want to talk to you, you tell me things that hurt. I tell you the truth. You need to hear the truth. I don't need to hear these things. I fled.
I sat back down with the shoes and worked on putting air back in my lungs at a realistic pace and had a long enough coughing fit the woman selling skirts came over and pounded my back until I made her stop.
Where. Is. My. Daughter.
I walked down the stairs toward the door. I looked to the right at a small alcove at a chair and found my daughter.
Get off of him this instant.
OK, listen. There is absolutely nothing wrong with two kids making out in a corner. Nothing whatsoever.
I did not have heart failure. I was not upset. I thought, good lord, thank you sweet baby jebus her father didn't find her, he'd have peed himself, puked on his feet, passed out and had another heart attack. I'm going to have to address this.
We went back up to the shoes.
You. Boy with the Pink Hair. Stop looking like you've done something wrong. It makes me think you've done something wrong. Kissing my daughter is not a wrong thing to do. However, making out in an alcove where people walk by is not polite. It makes people uncomfortable. Later I told my daughter I was guilty of exactly the same thing but you still have to think about it and people tend to get more upset about younger people.
Boy with the Pink Hair. Kiss the girl good-bye. We're leaving now.
Brave, brave, brave Boy with the Pink Hair.
And so he did.
We walked down the steps and back to the car and I could feel the dent between my eyes where the 2 x 4 had landed but I focused on my daughter's breathlessness which was different than mine and we were home by 10:15.
I love this. It's grainy as hell and far away and all you can see is the walking away. Which is exactly as it should be.
Also. I can't do this online catalog of men anymore. I can't even look at a profile. I can't open an email. It was an interesting experiment and it brought to light plenty of issues for dissection but it's caused a level of anxiety and upset that simply isn't worth the price.
I don't want this.
I've been rewatching Grey's Anatomy. At some point I stopped watching it. Fairly early I think. Maybe never got past the fourth season? In any event what I'm watching now is all new to me. Great line the other night; really hit home. One woman is speaking to her sister about rebound sex or even rebound relationships. She says, you can't do this. Other people can do this. I used to be one of those people, but you are not one of those people. The sister wants to know why not. Because, Lexie, your heart is in your vagina.
Oh. Is that it.
And EVERYTHING goes into lockdown.