The next morning the dog and I were on our way. The rain had stopped but it was windy. I hope the power isn’t down at the cottage.
The small cottage was not far from town but on a private road. Cell phone service was scant at best and there was no landline. The anticipated sense of escape I envisioned somehow seemed inglorious. Gusting wind, heavy rain again and rhythmic slap-slap of the wipers reflected a dismal mood as I pressed onward, hoping that the bears I’d been warned of would be undercover from the deluge and remain out of sight.
There were fallen limbs and small branches down on the road, but the downpour eased. Carrying the squirming excited dog, I fumbled for the key in its hidden location and squished into the porch; then took a deep breath. As soon as the car was unloaded and all traces of food moved indoors I could relax.
Silence surrounded us, even activating the car door locks sounded loud. The dog looked up expectantly when I turned the key in the front door. Indoors and out it was cold. I flipped on the electrical breakers.
I thought of Tony as I unpacked, hoping he coped all right overnight and was not too disconcerted with the change of surroundings. He would likely be having a snooze soon. Now I welcomed the luxurious opportunity to do the same.
The first evening of my sabbatical was uneventful. Though the cottage eventually warmed up to nearly comfortable, I was glad to have my socks and slippers. Despite the rain and wind, the only other identifiable sounds were pinecones dropping on the shingles, the refrigerator groaning, and something scampering across the roof.
Supper was fun to prepare, the ingredients and spices were my favorite choices from home–none of which appealed to Tony. I poured a large glass of wine and savored it while I cooked; then set the coffee pot for morning. The luxury of another wine was special and indulgent.
Once abed, the dog snuggled tight; the bedroom was without heat. I couldn’t settle but the dog was already snoring contentedly. It irked me that I couldn’t even decide whether to sleep on my own side of the mattress or in the middle of the space.
When I awoke and clambered out of bed, darkness was gone and the clock on the coffee machine read 7:45 A.M… I hit the “on” switch – Day 2 of the sojourn had begun. I missed Tony’s presence, musing that surely it was habitual. Was it possible that co-dependence was a reality? I’d read of examples, other people’s situations astonished me but I didn’t relate theirs to ours. The day was brooding – for unknown reasons I felt more contemplative. The long awaited adventure felt cheerless, Tony was still on my mind.
A stack of magazines on the side table helped pass some time, I flipped aimlessly through the pages, not reading a single article from start to end.
That afternoon the clouds cleared somewhat, though it was still too breezy to sit outside. I hoisted the dog into the car and drove to the end of the cottage road, then back to the main road where there was intermittent cell phone service. I wanted to check for the “all clear”; there were no messages.
I drove back to the cottage where the dog and I bundled up on the porch wrapped in a blanket. I cried; quietly at first, then thoroughly – there was nobody nearby to hear me bawling. The solitude I’d yearned for wasn’t fun yet – was Tony missing me as much as I missed him?
Though it was usually the last sound I wanted to hear, I switched on the TV. It dawned on me that movement on the screen provided a sense of someone else there. I heard a car rumble along the road and was reassured that there were other humans nearby. Inexplicably, I was still over-rotating. It had been a long time since I’d enjoyed absolute time for myself.
The second night, I slept the sleep of the blessed. I awoke to rain pattering but noticed the water still calm when I looked out. “Good morning, darling.” I said aloud. Peering into the mirror, it seemed that I looked less stressed, my skin smoother and even the dark circles under my eyes appeared reduced. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee smelled delicious; the surroundings now familiar. I noticed that my breathing seemed more even, and slower. The dog burrowed into his blankets and faced the wall, drifting into dreamland again.
In the perfect moment, I was finally at peace with my world. There was nary a
concern or worry. I discovered a new level of understanding and reconnected under grey skies, in the woods.