I am looking at the end of our L-shaped sofa where my stack of reading material tends to accumulate, within reach of my favorite chair. I see the remnants of a dream. Books, maps. For my trip to New York, Boston, New England. I wanted to visit Harvard.
Now it looks like I might not go.
Harvard would probably be a let down, like Hollywood. The Walk of Fame—stars immortalized in concrete; glimpses from a tour bus of the upper corners of celebrity homes behind tall fences and walls of shrubbery. “This is where Joan Rivers lived once.” The guide probably said it a hundred times that week. “This is where Mel Gibson was arrested for drunk driving.” They could be making this up. How would we know? “Be sure and have your camera ready because people are known to have spotted stars on these tours.”
I pick up a map I printed on which I’ve highlighted towns in pink, places like Kennebunk, Newport, Falmouth. My girlfriend and I bought tickets on a great seat sale. A few weeks later, after further calculations, we figured the trip would probably cost us three grand. That’s when I started having second thoughts. Denny could buy a lot of shoes and jeans for three grand.
My New England Eyewitness Travel Guide, complete with 840 photographs and 65 maps, has a couple dozen sticky notes protruding from the top of it. Places I want to see.
My novel is set in New England. I told myself this trip is for research purposes. Yes, the novel I’ve quit writing.
My friend, who is a publishes comedy romances, tells me she could get me in touch with other writers from New England whom could give me the information I need about the area. But then I wouldn’t smell the water, and hear the seagulls, or the trains for that matter. I really want to go there.
The east coast is probably not much different from the west coast, I tell myself, but I don’t really believe it.
The history of the area got me excited when I started doing research. Boston, the hotbed of the American Revolution. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston featuring Egyptian artifacts. Trinity Church, a masterpiece of architecture. Homes of writers such as Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne, in the “literary heart and soul of the US,” as the guidebook says Imagine the writing inspiration.
Maybe I can modify my plans.
“It would be a total waste of money. I would be very stressed out. I wouldn’t be happy,” Denny pauses, and then continues. “I just finished telling you that holidays are a black hole.”
Denny isn’t objecting to my trip to the East Coast. In fact, he is supportive of me going. What brought this on was my suggestion that we buy the Romance Package for $408 at Harrison Hotsprings. One night’s accommodation, dinner in the Copper Room, breakfast for two and a couples’ massage. Sounds wonderful to me.
Denny is usually a pretty good-natured guy. But when Denny isn’t having fun, nobody’s having fun.
Nine months at a job with more responsibilities than hours is wearing me down. I feel it. Hotsprings would be lovely.
“You have to take care of yourself. You don’t need to wear yourself out. You can leave some things for another day. There’s always another day,” Denny tells me.
Time management, and boundaries. Easier said than done.
“And you have to eat,” Denny adds.
Denny doesn’t like that I’m letting my job rule my life.
“We could go to Harrison without the breakfast package and leave at quarter to seven in the morning,” I suggest to Denny. No Romance Package. Less than half the price.
Denny still doesn’t like the idea. If he’s going, he wants the big breakfast buffet. It’s part of the package for him. What he looks forward to. We’ve had it before.
I let the whole thing drop. I’ve been inclined to do that a lot lately. But then I remember our walk on the Sea Wall, in the rain, and my heart warms.
Some things still turn out. I’ve also told my girlfriend that I will shorten my trip and meet her in Boston. I’m super excited.