Oh, the dreaded Spring Break. That moment in the year when work must stop in order to entertain children for a week while their teachers wile away the hours on a beach in Tahiti, or so we think. But, for the single mom, Spring Break means something different every other year – a week apart from the loving little munchkin you brought into this world. Oh, the dreaded Spring Break.
My munchkin, fiery red-head that she is, was slated to camp with her father in Chattanooga this year. Alas, Spring Break arrived and off they went. I kept my distance allowing them much needed time together. Then miraculously I got into my own grove. Totally unexpected, but here’s how it happened:
Monday I felt lonely. I missed Red with all my heart like someone had removed my head and left my body behind to poke and clod around. Body bumping into all the things it desired to accomplish, without my head I just couldn’t see those things at my fingertips.
On Tuesday, I took the proverbial bull by the horns and made dinner plans with a couple of good friends. We met early and enjoyed a pitcher of margaritas and plates full of carnitas. Giggling ensued and I finished the night feeling a lot less lonely and a lot more empowered.
Wednesday was pure bliss. It was the one night I planned in advance – dinner and tickets to Ghost Brothers of Darkland County at the Alliance with a man. Yes folks, a man. This special man I’ve known for over 25 years. In fact, he was my date to my fifteenth birthday dinner – ah, memories. It was the first night in about six months I’ve allowed myself to be a woman; not a mom. I put on makeup, a dress, and the extra special perfumed lotion I love. My friend arrived, handsome as ever with salt and pepper hair and tanned skin. My stomach did a little dance but I didn’t let on. We sat at my table and enjoyed brisket with cherry barbeque sauce for dinner. Then out the door we went. What happened next left me star struck. I am a huge theatre fan and opening night at the Alliance can be thrilling, but Ghost Brothers, a Stephen King / John Mellencamp collaboration, was the best yet. The completely unexpected but very King story accompanied by classic toe-tapping honky tonk of Mellencamp made this play one I would see again. At the beginning of the second act I inadvertently eves dropped on the couple behind us. They spoke of how disappointed they were for not talking to “him”.
Hmmm, I wondered. Who’s him?
Seconds later, they mentioned “Steve”. I had a hunch…
“Handsome date, check the program to see if there is a Steve in the cast.”
Nope. I turned around a looked at the woman sitting, now a little jittery, behind my seat, “Sister,” I said, “please tell me you are not talking about who I think you are talking about?”
Oh, heck yes she was. Stephen King was there in the audience for opening night. Wow! I mean really – WOW! I just finished reading On Writing a week ago and once finished felt like I was this man’s confidant, apprentice, friend. It was that book that we all long to write – the one that changed my life.
I only caught a glimpse of this man whose writing life I long to mimic, but that glimmer of greatness burned an indelible impression on my heart. Combined with sitting next to a man I’ve known and at times loved throughout the last three decades, I friends, was blessed to feel bliss, passion one more time. Just WOW!
When the night came to a close, and I had finally stopped jabbering about the play, the music, and my hero I told my friend that he was no Stephen King. He looked at me with a slight grin and maybe a tinge of disappointment then I finished, “but you leave me just as star struck.” With a kiss goodnight it was back – passion.
An inescapable feeling of excitement lingered on Thursday. It came in wafts and waves throughout the day leaving me unnerved, waiting for the next phone call like a love struck teenager. Ugh. Dinner and wine with a dear friend at my kitchen table brought me a little closer to myself and normal.
The house was silent for five days and in those same days I learned to be a woman again. I learned: 1) my life feels less without Red; 2) I enjoy drinking wine while I cook; 3) being in the company of the right old friend can be both comfortable and sexy; 4) and finding passion at 40 leaves you star struck and longing for more.
Were you on Spring Break this week? Did you find yourself? Experience something amazing or unlikely?
Until next time, I wish you passion.