As she does most mornings, my friend Lisa greeted me on Thursday with a text message.
“Did you see them off?”
She knew I’d spent the previous two days shopping, laundering, baking, and packing in an effort to give the men in my life a good send-off. They were headed to Lake Eufaula for what was being billed as a “boy’s” fishing weekend.
“Sent them packing with a bag of cookies and a smile.” I imagined her giggle as I typed. Lisa’s children are in college and her husband is a pilot. She gets lots of alone time….and loves it. Her congratulations came in the form of a smiley face.
As is the case most Fridays, the hours between lunch and the end of the work-day crawled at a snail’s pace, allowing me plenty of time to ruminate on how I might spend Friday evening. Other than pouring kibble and chicken feed, I had no responsibilities. I also had no one to please. I could do as I liked.
A co-worker spoke in anticipatory tones of the beer awaiting him in a bar he passed on his way home.
“I could go to a bar…”, I thought.
There’s a sports bar just a few miles from my house. The last time we went there, a man with too much product in his hair undressed me with his eyes as I passed on the way to the bathroom. He must have liked what he saw, because he did it again on my return trip. It’s not that I like goopy hair or lascivious stares, but at my age, I must admit it was nice to be noticed. It doesn’t happen like it used to. It’s been years since I’ve stopped traffic.
It was an entertaining daydream in which I managed to evoke that feeling of “not knowing”, the excitement of “what if”, and the rush of femininity sparked by the chase. I could almost feel his hand on my thigh.
And that’s when it stopped, just as it would have at the bar; at the point when you have to decide if the clothes you are wearing will end up in your laundry hamper or on points unknown, possibly in an unkempt fashion. For just a moment I allowed myself that other feeling of not knowing, as in not knowing where your clothes are. That put an end to that.
I considered going to a movie with a friend, but I can do that any time. I attempted to remember if there was a restaurant I wanted to try but hadn’t because someone else didn’t care for the cuisine, or thought it too expensive, or far away. I thought of several but I didn’t really want to eat out. We’ve eaten out a lot lately. Just the thought of it made me feel bloated.
Some of my friends encouraged me to take a weekend trip, but I do that several times a year as it is.
Friday night came and went, quietly.
Saturday began like any Saturday, only with less noise. I sipped a cup of coffee before heading out to the garden where I harvested enough green beans to have for lunch, along with two cucumbers, a tomato, and some black-eyed peas. Okay, it was only a handful of green beans, but that was okay. A handful was all I needed.
The only laundry to be done was mine. It barely filled the washer, and when it was done I could hang it out to dry and no one would complain I was making his shirts scratchy.
And that’s when it hit me; the gift of my weekend. Doing what I liked didn’t have to mean dangerous flirtations, or expensive meals, or hours in a car. Doing what I liked meant turning on the television at midnight, eating chicken salad for breakfast, and using the fancy Ethiopian coffee in the coffee press.
Doing what I liked meant I could wear my gauzy nightie, and nothing else, all night and all day if I so desired, because my fourteen-year-old’s eyes were someplace else.
I challenged Mother Nature herself by uncovering the patio furniture! Hell, I might even sit in it!
I listened to my IPOD all day and no one frowned at me because I didn’t hear when he asked, “What’s for dinner?” And, I sang…at the top of my lungs.
I hung four strands of half-price patio lights on a wall in my office and no one asked, “Are you really going to hang those there?”
I had soup and fruit for dinner and no one wondered, “Is that all we’re having?”
And, I talked on the telephone, inside the house, without fear of interruption. My oldest child is almost thirty. That’s how long it’s been since I could do that.
This morning the house is just as clean and neat as it was when I went to bed last night…and just as quiet. I’ll throw the bed linens in the wash and spend some time outside in the sun. I’ll read…I might even read out loud. I can, and no one will look at me funny.
Life, with all their expectations, comes home later this afternoon.