Go North Young Man!
My countdown (while not nearly as cool as another countdown) now stands at 4 days. Four days from today I am jumping on a plane and heading to New England. I’ll be landing in New Hampshire and taking a long, beautfiul drive through the mountains and up in to Maine. This cannot come fast enough…truly. 9 days with my family and friends, doing nothing but hiking through the hills and rocks on the coast, hanging out with my nieces, catching up with my dad and Kid Brother…and also, spending time totally alone.
The last one is a big one. Alone.
It occurred to me the other night that this trip marks the first time in several years that I will be going to Maine alone. My last two trips North were with exFiance. We went for a random visit, and then for the birth of my niece. Before that, I went with the mad cap Spaniard from this story, who is yet another in the “Oh My God” tales of relationships past. She and I went up for Kid Brother’s wedding.
The only other ex I’ve ever taken North was J, and that was years and years ago.
This time, I am going alone. And while I can say that having exFiance in Maine with me was truly a fantastic experience (her confusing of the kph and mph in Canada was worth the trip alone) I am excited to have the unlimited 1:1 time with my brother and my father that I haven’t had in years.
And again, I’m looking forward to just being alone.
I have always enjoyed time alone…I’ve been prone to long walks through the streets of whatever city I’ve lived in or through the woods and shores of wherever I’ve been visiting. I can let an entire day drift by and not speak a word, hard though that may be for those of you that know me to believe. But it’s true. And, by the same token, if I go too long without any time and space to myself, I start to feel claustrophobic. Like I’m trapped. Stuck. I hate that feeling.
When I’m alone, I notice how small I truly am compared to the world around me. I notice how tall the buildings really are or how wide the horizon actually is, depending on where I am. My thoughts run in completely different patterns and I don’t feel the need to speed up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat on Quoddy Head staring out at the Atlantic and overheard some tourist who looks an awful lot like I do most days of the year say to his family after all of 5 minutes, “C’mon, we’ve waited long enough….we aren’t going to see a whale”…only to miss one surfacing within the time it took them to get to their car. I think of that whale coming up for air and saying “suckers” when the Metro is full and I have to wait for the next car.
OK, that’s a lie. I try to remember to think that…but I don’t. I usually think “bastards…you’re all bastards.”
I also can’t wait to see my family. The (my last name here)’s. When you’re a product of a divorce and remarriage, and you spend all of your time with one side of your family (my mom’s) and your step parent’s family, you tend to miss out on something. My dad disappeared and took with him an entire chuck of my DNA handbook. The other half of that “where did I come from” was just gone. It’s like a 1000 piece puzzle only having 400 pieces + 100 from another puzzle. You get kinda lost in it. I’m not badmouthing my step father’s family…but I definitely got lost in a very confusing family world. They didn’t feel right…again, not that they weren’t good people. They were. But they weren’t my people.
Kid Brother reconnected with “our people”. He was kicked out of MA when he was younger and sent up to Maine to live with my dad. It was, to say the least, a trying experience. But one thing it did for him was to give back his connection to our family. It’s something that only in the last 10 years have I started to really “get”, and a great deal of it I get from him. He helps me reconnect to it. The Old Man does, too…but that’s more of a “hit or miss” proposition. My grandmother, god bless her bad ass heart (she will kick your ass and is just wicked with a bolt action .22 when there are crows in her garden…I am NOT kidding) helps me with it, too. I think she sensed a while back that I was trying to reconnect to it because she’ll randomly tell me stories about my grandfather, my great uncles, and my great grandfather…which is a story for later this week sometime.
Either that or she’s just happy to have someone to reminisce with over coffee.
At any rate, by suppertime Friday night I’ll be sitting up straight at my grandmother’s table for a dinner of Haddock, beet greens, and potatoes and hearing all about the local gossip. She’ll tell me about what I’ve missed since the last time I was there, and how my cousins are doing. She’ll tell me how sorry she was about exFiance, that she really did like her, and then say that she’ll “leave it at that”…as those aren’t things my people dwell on. We acknowledge. We support. We move on.
And it will feel damn good to be home.