My Husband Sent Me

Posted on Thursday 23 October 2008

“We’re empty nesters now, so my husband sent me down here.”

She speaks with a soft southern accent, tucking her wild brown curls back in a clip as she fights the wind that is blowing east off the ocean, directly at our bar stools. It is a losing battle I have learned not to attempt to fight.

“Are you visiting, too?” she asks, sounding hopeful that she might have found a vacation friend.

“Oh no, I live here,” I tell her, and laugh to myself.

Live here? I live at the beach bar when my bartender girlfriend is working. I live a mile up the road from the beach bar and keep the world in which I live to a tight two-mile radius because it’s easier that way. I live each day hoping the muse will speak more than two mediocre paragraphs to me, and I am thrilled when she does.

I live mostly content here these days, alone.

“Oh, that must be fun, living here,” she says, sipping the glass of white wine that she carefully selected after tasting several. I watched her do this moments before she started our conversation, and I marveled that my beach bar offers so many wines by the glass. As with my world, I keep my wine realm to a tight, two-glass radius–pinot grigio or cab, depending on my mood. I am just fine with my beach bar’s house wines because they are not that bad, and I am not sure I want to get used to the finer names and associated prices.

“Yeah, sometimes it’s really fun. But it’s definitely had its challenges,” I reply, then ask, “Where are you from?”

“D.C.”

“Oh, me, too! I mean I was, until I moved here.”

“Well, I actually live pretty far out in the suburbs. But this…” she gestures at the churning ocean across the street from us. “This is incredible.”

Yes, yes it is.

“At first I wasn’t sure about coming here on my own, but I’ve been so sad since both my daughters are now in college. I haven’t known what to do with myself. My husband thought it would be good for me to go off alone, you know?”

Really? But not quite good enough to vacation with you in this “incredible” place with the views in which to lose yourselves? Where you can savor the sand and sea and wind and stay cheap in a great hotel and remember why it was you even got married decades ago before you had kids–those kids who suddenly grew up before you realized it.

“And I think it has been good for me. But I head home tomorrow. Back to it all, I guess.”

To what? The empty house, the empty feelings, the husband who’d rather send you away than go away with you?

I don’t know why I am being so judgmental, because I don’t know this woman beyond our brief exchange and it’s none of my business, but I kind of want to shake her. She seems so…so…resigned.

When she excuses herself to go to the ladies room, a couple of regulars sitting adjacent to us ask, “What’s her story? Do you know her or something?”

I explain that I just met her, and how her husband sent her down here to be on her own for a few days, with the kids grown and gone and all.

“Right, so he can have time with his girlfriend,” says one.

“Or maybe he’s hoping she’ll meet a boyfriend here so he can stay with his girlfriend there,” laughs another.

Maybe. Or maybe it’s just another marriage that’s grown old along with the kids, and vacationing alone doesn’t feel so different from living alone under the same roof.

When she returns, we chat for a few more moments, and then I tell her I have to head home.

“It’s been great to meet you,” she smiles. “I have a feeling I’ll be down here a lot more often. I’ll see you again, I hope.”

“Sure,” I say. “Safe flight home.”

As I walk to my car, I think about what I am going home to this night–my dog who needs walking, an apartment left just the way I left it a few hours ago, a view of water and yachts I never tire of, a quiet I am learning to love.

I am going where I have chosen to live, to be–in all of its sometimes loneliness, but lately, in all of its evolving peacefulness. Despite the angst that came with my choice to be here alone and a first year that almost felled me, much has been funny and good. Much more good is to come, of that I am confident.

And no one had to send me here to find that out. I just did it–all alone. On my own.

12 Comments for 'My Husband Sent Me'

  1.  
    October 23, 2008 | 4:09 pm
     

    Did it all on your own and still going – good work.

  2.  
    Laura
    October 23, 2008 | 4:42 pm
     

    i’ve been lurking on your blog for a while without commenting… but this was a really good entry among a millioin good entries. you’re a very inspirational writer!

  3.  
    Maddie
    October 23, 2008 | 6:35 pm
     

    I’m really glad to see things are turning around for you. You sound so positive and upbeat now. That’s really terrific!

  4.  
    October 24, 2008 | 8:57 am
     

    One wonders why her husband would send her on the trip alone.Good blog. I am not a big fan of the separate vacation myself.

  5.  
    Restaurant Gal
    October 24, 2008 | 9:27 am
     

    JoeinVegas–Thank you.

    Laura–I am so glad to know you’ve been lurking, and thank you for the nice comment! Please feel free to chime in more often.

    Maddie–There’s always going to be the usual good with the not so good, but life is more settled for me as I am well into my second year here. Thank you.

    Waiterextraordinaire–I know. It was kind of sad, but again, who was I to judge? But I am with you, separate vacations–no thanks.

  6.  
    October 24, 2008 | 9:27 am
     

    We can’t wait for the kids to leave home so we can spend more time together. Only another decade or so…

  7.  
    October 24, 2008 | 9:35 am
     

    “keep the world in which I live to a tight two-mile radius because it’s easier that way”.

    I completely know what you mean…

    Clearly, there are benefits for just keeping it simple. I admire you.

  8.  
    Restaurant Gal
    October 24, 2008 | 9:46 am
     

    Kim–I hear you. And then you miss them like crazy!

    Namaste–Simple, easy, peaceful. It all equals more happiness than not. I am savoring every minute these days.

  9.  
    m
    October 26, 2008 | 10:23 pm
     

    ‘On my own’ is the most satIsfying. Hard, but you own it all on your own. I moved to a city where I knew no one a few years ago. Alone was very difficult, but the happiness I found was all mine.

  10.  
    mikepete
    October 26, 2008 | 10:43 pm
     

    RG-
    Thanks for that post! I’m right there with you!!
    Mikepete

  11.  
    Restaurant Gal
    October 27, 2008 | 11:02 am
     

    m–hard, but the best lesson I have ever continued to teach myself and learn from

    mikepete–you are welcome!

  12.  
    October 27, 2008 | 3:08 pm
     

    It seems your muse put in overtime! Nice post

    I love that you own this life of yours-

    I love the two mile radius myself – though , we have made a leap to rural life on an alpaca farm of all things- should be interesting– we actually had to buy a car!

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