Mother’s Day weekend hubby and I got our out: Nana (mother-in-law) was coming to visit and would allow us a two-night get-away. As it’s pre-tourist-season in rural Newfoundland, the Facebook consensus was that we escape to Port Rexton – a quaint little outport community on the Bonavista peninsula.
So, Thursday afternoon we hit the road. It was a perfect day. A perfect drive. Leading to a perfect romantic getaway spot: Fisher’s Loft Inn, Port Rexton (B’ys: please don’t die before you stay there!). The view from the top-floor, corner room in the beautiful treetop “house” we were assigned to was matched only by the adorable, treelined, lit path to the “dinner” house, where the food was so good it made me get all weepy and flustered (the bottle of wine helped).
So the epiphany. Flash forward to day two: after a delicious lunch at Two Wales Coffee Shop and a foggy hike along the breathtaking Skerwink Trail, we settled into the Port Rexton Brewing Company’s taproom for the evening. As soon as I walked in, I knew it was ma jam: big open space, cool decor, fun trivia games at each table, open mic stand, witty names for beers, and, most importantly, the staff: all female, young, cool, funky gals. Lotsa plaid, sweet piercings, skattered beanie.
Jackpot, I thought. These are my people.
I leaned coolly against the bar to place our order wit ma gurls. Which they took politely then carried on their work.
Maybe they’re shy, I thought.
So I asked about good breakfast spots in the area. Which, once again, they answered, politely enough, and then went about their work / conversations.
Um… What’s happening here? Surely, they must see we’re kindred spirits. Why are we not bonding yet? Why aren’t they inviting me to work here part time or, at the very least, for a campfire after their shift? Why aren’t they confirming my comfort with vocal harmonies for the all-female, ukelele-driven, folk quartet we’d inevitably form?
That’s when it occurred to me. Duh. It’s all my husband’s fault.
Clearly. What was I thinking? Poor guy. Here he is, all tall and jocky and male… wearing a baseball hat and hoodie, no less. Jeez. So unrelateable to me and my peeps behind the bar.
So their behavior made sense. But I couldn’t help but feel sad that we weren’t bonding the way they perhaps would have wanted had I arrived alone. This is a horrible admission, I realize; my husband is the greatest date/company ever. But who knew when we’d be back here. Or if my brew-squad would ever know just how B our BFF-ness could have been…
I was not disguising my disappointment well.
“What’s the matter?”, J finally asked, as I spaced out at my ketchup-stained 80’s trivia question card.
“Nothing… It’s just… I can’t help but feel…” [12,000 words about unrequited love from my beer-house homies].
Now, many partners would be offended by this. Give the whole, “fine, maybe I’ll just go” or “sorry I’m not as cool/female as”-type reactions. But not J. In fact, he looked at me with a sudden fondness; a sudden… wait, was that pity?
And then, ever so coolly, ever so calmly… hubby told me what’s up:
“Sweetheart. It has nothing to do with me. It has nothing to do with my hat or the way I’m dressed or even the fact that we’re together. They’re behaving exactly the way they should be. They’re just not into you because… well, because you’re fucking old”.
I would give anything to have a photograph of my face in that moment. I was not offended. I was overcome by the blinding truth of it.
It was like he’d pulled some veil of denial from eyes and I saw, clearly, for the first time ever, that I’m no longer one of them. I mean, sure, people can have friends of all ages. But, at a glance, I am at least ten years older than the oldest amongst them. I, like them, haven’t slept for five years but, unlike them, it’s not because I’ve being living it up in my prime and watching blissed-out sunrises. My face no longer hides my exhaustion the way theirs do; nor is mine, any longer, brought on by fun-filled nights by the ocean having deep, insightful conversations over craft beers, while some, beautiful, bearded man or woman with a guitar growls soulful, gut-wrenching truths into the fire and you own the night and anything is possible. That’s their truth now.
My truth is that I’m on the back end of my 30s. And sore. And I work too hard. And my soul has been slowly leaking out; draining, constantly, into my attempts to keep two small humans alive/stimulated/happy.
It was an awakening. After which I finished my flight of beer and second Oh My Cheeses sandwich (from God!) and admitted that, you know what? I’m tired. Let’s go home.
I had planned on staying up late, drinking ciders in bed and teaching hubby how to play crib. But suddenly I had nothing to prove. And I gave my old bones a solid 10-hours of shut eye. It was glorious.
I was old and woke as hell.
But don’t get me wrong; just because I’m not twenty-something doesn’t mean my dreams of taking uke lessons and starting an indie band and writing/starring in a Newfie reboot of “Girls” are completely dashed. It just means it’ll take a few extra power-naps and heating pads and eye cream and omega-3 capsules and fridge memos to spur the creative process along.
Cheers to aging honestly. It’s refreshing.
Your older (and wiser-ish) HOAR