We’re off. That is, we’re going somewhere special to the wife and I. It’s a place we have gone to for years – twenty five of them, to be exact – like clockwork, and there’s a story behind that.
Years ago when the wife and I got married – we had lived together for nearly one year (to the disgust of one parent and the paranoid and groundless fears of another) – me, her, and her three children.
You see, she had been the fulfillment of a dream – quite literally, one I had – and had held precious to my heart – literally dreaming about this thing – and then finally, in despair and resignation, sort of giving it up.
I was ‘living’ with a family at the time. I had become like a babysitter, friend, uncle – it even went so far (and we were so close, us all) that they named their last child after me – though I had left by that time. That family also had three kids, and they had taken me in after my Marine Corps career (I worked on the same Army base as their dad) – and one day the father invites me home for lunch . . . then things build on that; I meet the wife and children – 3, ages, 6, 8, and 10 – and over time I began watching the kids for them on occasion – while they’d run up to the grocery store for a meal (I always provided), or the parents, wanting to “go out on a date” would have me watch them while they went to a movie. Sometimes they’d come home late – I’d be sleeping on the couch, and they left me undisturbed . . . and over a year (one of the darkest years in my life; not much lighter than the ones left behind) – we became family.
There are some long tales with this thing, but in the end the youngest boy taught me I could be loved again.
So I wanted that thing; a family like that, and as the Fates were suddenly smiling upon me, a wish was given – and granted.
I met my spouse and kids.
And a year later I married her.
And a year later we bought this place.
For our honeymoon had consisted of twelve hours passed out in the bed – me mostly still in my suit, her in her dress – for we were exhausted. We were poor as could be – her a country girl, me a tech head (and some other stuff) – getting a degree; 3 children . . .
Suffice to say, there was no honeymoon to speak of.
And about a year later we found this place:
And we said . . . “Lets buy it.” It’s a timeshare, sure, but it’s ours. It was the cheapest one we had looked at – and yet the best. At the time it was on an undeveloped island with a literal board walk for a side walk next to driftwood shanty’s with sand floors; the arcade machines set up on pallets and wire spools for tables and things; beer sold in a cooler floating above the sand on blocks – that kind of thing. And there was an old island cafe’ (though it was a honk-tonk bar at night) where you could get the best coffee and fried eggs in the morning . . . that kind of place.
It was a strain to pay for it sometimes – took years. But every year we would go there – packing up the kids until they were grown – and they now beg sometimes to come but can’t – their life and jobs mostly, and lately over the years me and my wife. We want our time together . . . to heal, to be . . .
It’s our “honeymoon place” and we’ll be going there the rest of our lives. Like us, it’s grown up some:
. . . after Hurricane Hugo took it – wiped that island clean of it’s shanties and character, only to be replaced by modern commercialism and hotels so now it just looks like any “island place” you might visit . . .
But that’s okay – they installed a new causeway that drops us down from the mainland to our door (four lane) – and groceries are only a hop and a skip away, not three islands and two draw bridges . . . of which my wife and I have been on one:
Not the normal view you see (think about it – there’s only one place) – but from up there we got a tour and a wonderful view of a twilight sun over a marsh, over the Intercoastal Waterway . . .
Our intent is our wife – nothing else. Helping her to relax. Ever since last year she’s been short on patience – not with me, but everyone else. With me she seems fine; okay. But as she points out: “I have no patience with bullshit anymore. None of it. Ever since that thing.” This being a nurse who flat told her: “No, I will NOT tell you where your husband is, how he is doing, how you can find him – NOTHING.” And didn’t. As far as my wife knew I just disappeared – because they had come and got me with no notice or paperwork. (There still isn’t any paperwork on that thing last I checked: nothing to say they came; nothing in the clerk or courthouse records . . . it just ‘happened’. Big Uncle Sam in motion, if you know what I mean. Shhh, shhh, and don’t say a thing.
Anyway . . . this is our honeymoon, 7 days . . . then back. Internet connections may be spotty. I may not feel like doing it (writing). I may work on my book (“The Boy”, P2). No matter what I will have fun and enjoy being with my wife.
People don’t realize how rare that is sometimes . . . taking too much – each other – for granted. But I assure you: you (and they) have only a certain number of years before you. They don’t last long. Grab them while you can – hold them dear and tight! – but free enough to let them go . . . all of it.
Because in the end?
That’s what you’ll do.
Be seeing you.
(and while I’m there I’ll be . . . face painting kids and grownups for free . . . just to see them smile . . . and building giant sand castles in the sun . . . for little children to wander through . . .