The snowcap mountains were breathtaking as I drove to the small mountain town. I could feel with every turn of the road the weight I have been caring lift off my shoulders. It was magical, all the worry and stress left my mind and I could breath easy up here in the mountains. When I reached my destination, I checked into my room at the lodge with no issues. It wasn’t “tourist season” so the place seemed empty and quiet. As I passed the lobby there was a huge rock fireplace with what looked like 2 big comfy chairs in front of it. I have to go sit there tonight I thought to myself. As I walked into my newly cleaned room I could see the mountain out my window, my queen size bed all to myself, and a desk with a lamp that would be my office for the next few days. I was looking forward to getting some work done and my book finished without distractions. I’ve been waiting for this work vacation for sometime now, I’ve dreamed of how it would feel being in the mountains by myself to work and rest, and recover. Funny, when I got here I had already started to miss my son and husband, but I was also excited to get some much needed me time in.
I went to dinner in the lodges restaurant. It was a cozy place but nothing too fancy which I preferred. I had a healthy dinner with a glass of red wine to wash it down, the house noir. It wasn’t my Meiomi but it was smooth enough. Knowing I had a long night of writing ahead I ordered a vanilla latte for dessert to help keep me awake. After a few sips while looking out at the horizon I remembered the big comfy chairs by the fire. Hoping they weren’t taken I hopped up telling my waiter to charge my room for the meal and headed to the lobby area.
I was so relieved when I saw that one of the chairs was still open, the other taken up by a small elderly woman with shoulder length white hair enjoying what looked like tea with her feet up on the ottoman toward the fire. Not wanting to bother her but also didn’t want to steal someones seat, I went up and asked if that seat was taken. her quick reply was “yes… by you!” with a smile. I jumped right into the chair with my coffee in both hands hugging my heart and made myself at home. I sat slightly slouched with my right foot crossed over my left on top of the ottoman in front of me after taking off my shoes, revealing my bow tie socks. I closed my eyes and reveled in the feeling of the warm fire, in the mountains, by myself, drinking a warm cup of coffee, on a vacation just for me. Deep breath in the nose, deep breath out the mouth.
The word took me out of my current trance and found myself looking over at the woman beside me.
“Pardon”? I asked.
“Tumeric. It’ll help save your life. You should have more tumeric. I put some in my tea once a day. Better for you than that sugar you’re drinking.”
Crazy old lady I thought to myself, a little spite at her for breaking my peaceful moment to lecture me about my sugar intake. How did she know I had a slight addiction?
“Okay… great! Thanks for the tip.” I said with a smile and went back to closing my eyes right before she started to speak again.
“on a solo holiday”? She asked.
“why, yes. How did you know?”
“I can see it in your face, I took a similar holiday myself.’ She said with a smile. “mine was about 30 years ago though haha. I lot has happened since that trip.”
She seemed like she wanted to talk but I was in no mood. I made this trip to be by myself, not to talk to some woman about the years gone by. I tried to act closed off and close my eyes once more but she didn’t seem to take the hint, or she didn’t care. She kept prodding.
“you know, solo trips are good for you if used as a tool and not an escape. If you use it as an escape you’ll be trying to escape you’re whole life. The trick is to make your life the way you feel right now on this trip. Not easily done I’ll admit, but do able. Take your family for example, if you all work together and clearly communicate what each of you need you won’t feel trapped and will be able to create a schedule that works for everyone… that is, if you felt trapped of course.” As she spoke she was staring at me with this sly smirk as if she knew something I didn’t. I didn’t understand it, she was hitting on points that I had been feeling but without knowing me at all. I was a little creeped out when she told me to keep a strong hold on who I am and my boundaries for myself and my family when things started happening but also a little intrigued? I couldn’t help but lean in closer and talk to her more as time went on. How could this old woman I just sat next to know more about me than I did?
“I know I’m being officious, and don’t mean to interrupt your holiday, I just want to make sure you do it right with no regrets, you know”? She replied after she finished speaking on how younger generations need to pay more attention to what’s going on in the world and how I need to use my voice for change, real change.
“No actually I don’t know. How is it you know so much about me? To be honest lady, you’re kind of freaking me out.”
“Oh you’re a smart girl, I’m sure you’ll figure it out. And don’t stress, there’s plenty of time. When you start to enjoy the present moment you’re in and enjoy the journey, you’ll realize you have all the time in the world to figure things out and make them work. Which reminds me, can you please relax about the whole “housewife” thing. You know you’re made for more and you WILL be and do more. But like I said before, enjoy the journey and the moment. Your little ones won’t be little forever. They will grow up and you will wish you had more time with them. You will get everything done you need to, I just pray you also enjoy more of the little moments in between the big ones.”
I leaned back into my chair as her last lecture point hit a soft spot. I stared into the fire for a moment to get my grip when I realized I was sitting the exact same way the elderly woman was sitting. Same right foot over the left, same slouch, same shoeless feet, same position of her mug at the center of her chest. I closed my eyes to let everything that was happening sink in. The things this lady was telling me were issues I had been chewing around inside myself. The way she looked was familiar to me but I couldn’t put my finger on it, and how we both sit the exact same way. I had this growing feeling in the pit of my stomach but didn’t want to call it by name because then it would be real and I would be insane.
“What did you say your name was again”? I said out loud after a few moments. I opened my eyes and looked her way to find no one sitting in the other chair next to me. I looked around to find a gentleman sitting at a table not too far from me.
“Excuse me sir, did you see where the older lady sitting next to me went”?
“I haven’t seen anyone here all night beside me and you miss.”
I sat back in my chair with a sinking feeling in my chest. I felt the warmth from the fire on my feet and face as I looked at my half drank vanilla latte before setting it on the table next to me. Still feeling the woman’s presence and a swelling in my heart I closed my eyes as I took a deep breath in the nose, and exhaled out my mouth.