Find us it did! Good news for the entire clan, you may have heard our collective sigh of relief, when we found out our mom does not have an incurable disease, but conversely is on the mend. There were ghoulish rumors, moments of despair, and lots of internal prodding, but all evidence seems to point to a curable malady for our beautiful matriarch. That’s all the encouragement I needed to pop a bottle of good wine, “Here’s to our First Lady Ann, Glory be to God.”
He tries to tempt me out of bed, “We’ll stop for a glass of wine and chowder at Phil’s, check out a few antique shops, hike along the beach.” (All my favorites things and he knows it.) Does he remind you of anyone? Tail, horns, red…
The drive to the coast is divine. I keep thinking about our beautiful world and how lucky I am to rest my eyes on coastal redwoods, the redemptive ocean, and endless crop fields. Amazing how different the world looks after a stipend of good news or maybe it’s the coffee. We don’t talk much during the drive, both of us lost in our own thoughts, me envisioning a new future, he mentally preparing for a trip to China. He leaves tomorrow but that seems a lifetime away.
The whales are migrating, it’s crab season, and there are no parking spots at Phil’s, so we create our own space behind a six foot stack of crab nets. The line is spilling into the parking lot as I weave my way into the restaurant and check out the bar space. As you would expect, it is packed, and no one appears to be leaving soon. I order beer and wine to sip while we stand in line anticipating our cup of chowder. The line moves faster then you think and before long we’re devouring fresh calamari, hot soup, and buttered bread. The stomach has it’s limits but we refuse to stop, very thankful for my stretch pants, eat on.
It’s early, so we head downtown for a little adventure, and let me just say it was epic. There is a big race tomorrow and the streets are jam packed with lanky, sweaty, zoned out, lycra encrusted masses, intent on arriving somewhere quickly. They’re like locusts, covering the streets, sidewalks, and benches. They all have matching t-shirts, numbers, and seem overly attached to their water bottles, makes me thirsty. After browsing through a kitchen, garden, and bike shop Larry completely loses his mind.
“Are you crazy, I’m not going in there, that’s a brothel.”
“It is not, come on, it’ll be great.”
“Ladies do not frequent such establishments.”
“It’s a couples massage. You’ll love it.”
“We’ll catch a disease.”
Desperate situations require desperate measures, “The game is on, right, let’s grab a cold beer, I’ll think about it (not a chance in hell).” The nice thing about a town full of runners the day before a race is the beer garden is totally empty. We slip in for a cold one, accompanied by greasy garlic fries, and roasted brussel sprouts. (A couples massage, really?)
This particular bar is known for cold beer and extravagant martinis. Me and martinis are never a good idea, but we’re celebrating mom’s newfound health and thirty-three years of wedded bliss, so I throw caution to the wind. (I hear you, “remember what happened last time, it required bail,” but I’m not listening.) We sip our monstrosities for the better part of an hour before heading out to the streets with an altered vision and newfound bravado.
I will never fully comprehend how I ended up naked, face down, on a narrow bed, with a tiny sheet covering my chilled derriere. Larry is in a similar position not two feet away from me. And no, we are not holding hands. A women I do not know is massaging my arms, legs, and back. I’m covered with oil. It’s pure bliss. As my field of awareness diminishes, I believe I am moaning, it’s only me and magic fingers in the room, until I’m jolted from a pleasant dream, when she asks me to turn over. I oblige like a well trained dog.
I’m pretty sure I need to go to confession.
After our couples massage we head underground to a quaint British pub. It was dark, warm, and ever so inviting, a complete throw back in time. The people are part of the props, along with an assortment of British flags, aged wood, and lots of red. I’m a little worried about the oil coating my entire body, including my hat hair, and flabby neck. My makeup is a disaster but I decide to ignore the apprehensive looks coming from the wannabe Brits. We start chatting it up with a couple seated at the bar, they become our new best friends, and somehow their contact info ended up in my phone?
We continue to eat our way across town, landing at an Italian restaurant, for more carbs, and wine. Just what I need. This restaurant is packed with the lycra crowd, perfect, everyone is a beanpole. I only eat half my dinner because I suffer from lycra body envy. On the way back to our adobe lodge Larry hands off my leftovers to a homeless lady sitting on a bench. She scoffs at him because she wanted money, I consider retrieving my gnocchi which she tosses aside, but I restrain myself.
It is late when we arrive back at the hotel. Larry’s fight leaves in less than ten hours. He says, “Dip in the hot tub before bed?” “I’ve been naked enough tonight, next time.” The alarm goes off at 5:00 am. Ouch. It is dark and cold on the drive home. I hear the pounding waves against the distant shore, I’m dealing with a redemptive hangover, but feel gloriously absolved.
If you are the British couple we met in the bar, we won’t be able to make it for Thanksgiving dinner after all, but thanks for the invite.
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