Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Weekend Update Done in Letter Form Because I'm Experimentin'

Dear YG --
Tonight you asked how we could go from having such a weekend high to such a crap week. How does that happen in a mere 48 hours? I meant to write about the weekend because it seemed to come exactly when I needed it and it was one of those rare, do nothing, feel good, feel refreshed weekends. But we quickly got back into the swirl of chores and the day to day anxieties, and the general ennui that comes with two very smart people caught in jobs that they don't exactly love.

What happened? What was so special about the weekend?

On Saturday morning, I woke up and laced up my running shoes and quickly ran 5 miles down by the Charles River. It wasn't too warm or humid, and I like how it's quiet on Saturday mornings and I can be with the other runners. You stayed home and worked on schoolwork with the MG.

We drove the 45 minutes out to Harvard to meet her mother, and sat in the Dunkin Donuts air conditioning, eating munchkins and bagel sandwiches. The MG was clingy after a week with you, but chatty. As you walked them out to their car, I stopped to use the ATM which took my card and then promptly broke. I worried about this shitty start to the weekend. I asked for help, got nothing but a verbal altercation with the DD staff, and left in a huff and with a flip of the bird. I worried what you thought of me. We resolved the crisis, but still, I worried/worry that someday you'll figure out that I am too emotional and angry and off-kilter for you. You tell me not to worry.

We drove to Walden Pond. After two summers of complaining (me) about not enough swimming time, we finally pack up the bags and decide that we'll either go to Walden Pond or Revere Beach. Walden is on the way, and thanks to the unstable weather, relatively quiet. We set up our blanket and pull out our books and observe. You're reading Ethan Canin's, America America, and I'm reading Joan Didion's, The Year of Magical Thinking.

Multiple people told me how depressing and heartbreaking Magical Thinking was, but I couldn't believe them or even begin to understand that until I began reading it. The book is raw and honest and intense. As soon as I began reading it, the dream (nightmare?) that one of my parents die comes back. I have this dream a lot, more so recently, and am scared to the core of things left unsaid and how I wake up with wet pillows. It's almost always my father, and it almost always makes me want to pack up and run back to Whippany. A conversation with someone else from long past:
"But even if you were back there, you wouldn't talk."
"But I'd be there."
"You'd be there, but each of you -- your parents, your brother, your sister -- would be in different rooms. You wouldn't talk."
"But we'd be there."
"But so what?"
"It would be normal.That's my normal."
And then things become anything but normal, and I have no center of gravity anymore and no place to run back to.
These are the things I think about when I'm reading Joan Didion at Walden Pond and I can't breathe because it's so sad.

We decide to go in the water. It's not too cold and you can see the bottom, something that still endlessly pleases the New Jerseyan in me. We swim a few laps before we hear thunder and the lifeguards usher everyone out of the water. We read some more, and I watch the people and the light. I confess that I didn't like Thoreau's Walden that much and I really don't feel the need to reread it. I worry how this appears to you, as well. Crazy, angry, emotional and not a reader of fine books.

It clears up, but we're tired and slightly damp. You ask if I want to dry off and leave and I wonder about going in the water again. I ask you to promise me that we'll come back again this summer. We both mentally calculate the dates and realize that summer is halfway through. "Let's go in the water," you say. We head in again and swim laps. I stay underwater and we float. We're at Walden Pond, a place that before only existed in books for me.

After drying off, we decide to go on an adventure and explore a neighborhood that we've never been to. I conveniently forget to bring underwear or a bra, so I consider venturing through Boston with just a beach coverup and no bathing suit underneath a true undertaking. We take the GPS system and head to Brookline. We walk around Coolidge Corner, poking our heads into shops, giggling at Good Vibrations, and sharing crusty thin slices at Upper Crust with the pizza plates on the ceiling. The weather holds up and it doesn't start to rain until we're back in our car heading back to Cambridge.

We shower, pay some bills and then head out to Kendall Square. The Red Line cooperates and we get to The Blue Room early enough to have drinks in the bar. Prosecco for you, a ginger tequila drink for me. Jason Bay hits a home run while we're there watching on t.v. We get good seats and enjoy our one perfect cheese. My ravioli is heavenly. Your fish is interesting. We share desserts and many more drinks. We walk arm and arm back to the T. My high heels don't even hurt.

On Sunday, we play hooky from church and ride the whole rail trail. You speed ahead, but I always manage to catch up. It's again sunny, but not too hot. I always wish that I had a camera because the purple flowers are beautiful and the sun peeks through the trees in a way that I don't ever fully enjoy when I'm not on my bike. We share water and Nutri Grain bars in Bedford and ride back. It's 22 miles overall.

We take your laptop up to Diesel for lunch, and three months later, pick out the wedding photos we like. We don't argue and we tackle this task efficiently and quietly. We remember the wedding. You decide to head home and I get a pedicure and read about the new Jolie Pitt babies. Later, you watch one of your shows on the Military Channel and I go grocery shopping. Whole Foods is remarkably sane for a Sunday afertoon, and I enjoy the free cheese.

We cook chicken on the grill and make up some brown rice. You listen to The Cowboy Junkies on the iPod in the kitchen and I make my lunch. We open up a bottle of Prosecco and eat on the porch outside, barefoot. We talk about how much we love this weekend.

I love this weekend. I don't love that the weekend disappears, but on the whole, most of our time together feels like a long weekend.