Half an hour left in my self-initiated overnight retreat until checkout time. Last night I decided just to sneak an overnight bag and my laptop into the car, say I was going to find a quiet place to write, and head over to the Comfort Inn. Quiet, clean room, internet for blogging and a copy of Farley Mowat’s The People of the Deer. Free breakfast included, and I control the remote. Cheaper than a bigger house, I wrote in the note. Then took the note with me, because I couldn’t leave it on the pillow while my husband was asking me why I wasn’t okay.
Other women go on retreats, take short vacations and trips, go to conferences. Just because I didn’t book ahead, it seems strange that I’d take one now, without anyone’s say-so. A hundred bucks is cheap for some space, though, and packing tent and gear was not an option.
I cheerfully book into my room, turn on the lights, try to welcome the empty spaces I apparently needed, yet which feel stolen and accusing. They’ll understand, won’t they? I finish a blog post, work on a few others, catch up on reading a few others. It’s past bedtime for the kids, so I text my husband from the hotel instead. Cowardly I know, but I just didn’t want to try to explain, and I feel a twinge of guilt, leaving them all like this. He is asleep by that time, in front of the TV. Later but woke me with a phone call, said he was worried, but quietly accepted my brief explanation.
Morning light filters into the tall, narrow window that looks out onto the parking lot full of cars with BC license plates. I wasn’t choosy as to venue, even thought I could conveniently get gas and a few things on my list before heading home from this part of town. It’s still very quiet, which is not entirely soothing.
I head down for the breakfast bar in my socks with my book. Nothing much healthy there, as usual for such places, and all served on disposable dishes taken away in more plastic after the meal. Even in my green city, hotels are bastions of backwardness, though they give lip service to saving the environment through washing bedding less than daily. I want to put a word in with the management, which this time won’t irritate my family, but I head for the elevator instead. I’ll mention it on the feedback card.
Time to go, and what did I accomplish? I am not refreshed, not much. If I could figure out, articulate and organize what I need that is not already worked into my life or its margins, I wouldn’t resort to just driving off like this. Like my mom occasionally did, leaving us wondering what it was all about. Maybe if she had just said, “I love you all dearly, but I am very tired and grumpy now and don’t want to bring you down. Be dears and help out with the chores while I go take a break for my nerves. You understand, don’t you?”