A few years after college, most of us had left Portland and scattered ourselves around the US, so we started scattering our Memorial Day Weekend trips too, and reduced participants to the current seven. We went to
This year we returned to
Part of my exhaustion was, of course, simply the fact of 15 hours of alert travel the day before, but that wasn’t all.
In the past when I’ve taken care of
This time, I had only three days alone out of 15; many, many “incidents” cropped up day after day; and I started my country idyll already drained—dear friends have been going through a separation, and it’s been very, very difficult for everyone involved, which of course is not just the couple in question.
So by the time we arrived at our beach house and unpacked the cars, all I could imagine doing was lying down and taking a nap. I don’t sleep easily, however, and I couldn’t sleep then. I lay on my back in the blue and white room, listening to the crash of the waves, tears leaking out of my eyes, thinking over and over about attacked horses, dog fights, divorce, and the end of cancer treatments, trying to calm my mind, trying to get some rest. Finally, I gave up. I can promise to be a safe driver, I thought to myself, but I don’t have the energy to be anything more this year. I got up and wiped my face, went downstairs and curled up in the corner of the couch at the other end from Lee, across from Laura on the other couch.
“How are you, Ducky?” said Lee.
“Okay,” I responded, hugging my knees into my chest. It was all I could say.
“Did you sleep?” asked Laura.
“No, not at all.”
Lee looked at me carefully. “Would you like a backrub?” she asked.
“Oh, yes,” I said, starting to tear up.
“Can I get you a beer?” Laura asked, standing up.
“That would be great.”
And there you have it, folks. I was at the end of my rope, and they saw that, and they didn’t just pull me back in; they came out to get me. I didn’t have to say that I only had the strength left to not commit vehicular homicide; that I couldn’t be counted on to counsel anyone through their current challenges, that I didn’t have the wherewithal to cook a meal, or really even to clean up after one. They knew because they love me.
I didn’t have to say anything at all.