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Staycation Interruption: I’m in! (Part I)

June 1, 2016

I was happily engrossed in an 11-day-straight stay-cation. I had a to-do list. I was scratching things off. I set up a studio. I painted some furniture. The bright Lemon Grass green Liz picked out was perfect. I started a painting. I took care of the Honda Recall on my Element. I was going to walk into the paved coulee near campus to see the graffiti.

But I couldn’t quite relax. I kept looking at the list and the calendar of days being crossed out and it made me anxious. I had to get it all done! I had to make the most of this time. And more than that, in the back of my head I kept wishing that I was doing something more. Something adventurous. A last minute crazy move. I didn’t know what that could be. I knew that if I went back to work, jumping into a crazy event season and heavy workload I would be disappointed that I didn’t jump of a cliff in some way.

Mr. Houston asked me what I was doing Memorial weekend.

“I don’t know. It depends on how much I get done,” I told him.

“I’m thinking about taking a solo road trip to Sante Fe.”

“That’s a great idea,” I said. “I hear it’s beautiful in that area.”

“You should come with me,” he offered.

I sighed. I knew I would say no. I knew that he knew I would say no. I was even a bit mad at him for offering. I had made it clear, again, that I didn’t think we should see each other. It had been a month since we had been together.

He repeated the offer a few more times.

The next day I was in the lobby of my doctor’s office ready to discuss anti-depressant options when I began to imagine what it would be like to take him up on the offer. Sante Fe. Pueblos. I’d never been there.

The practical side of my brain started to tug down the fantasy. You know you’re not going to do it. Stop imagining it. A sense of panic came over me as I thought about saying no. Wasn’t I always saying I wanted to see new things? Wasn’t I craving an adventure? Didn’t I often say that if I just had someone to go with me I might be able to……whatever?

Why was I always choosing not to be the person I claimed I wanted to be?

I asked him if he was serious about his invitation. We texted back and forth. I told him I was considering it.

I was in the that coulee, chasing around two ducks, holding up my 50mm lens to layers of spray paint glowing in the sunlight as I negotiated with him.

Did he really want me to go or did he assume I would say no?

In typical Mr. Houston form, he danced around and answered but didn’t answer, analyzing every possible outcome. He was worried that if I broke my own policy and spent time with him, I might think we could have a relationship.

“Based on stuff you’ve said to me, I don’t want to be in a relationship with you,” I told him. “I think if we can forget the past, not worry about the future and just enjoy each other for a weekend, it will be ok,” I said.

“So a kind of friends with benefits weekend?” he asked.

“Exactly,” I said. “I don’t want to pretend we haven’t been intimate with each other. That’s just stupid.”

“No, yeah. That’s totally going to happen. I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

“It’s my job to worry about getting hurt,” I said.

“Ok. Let’s do it,” he said.

“I’m in,” I said.

I would drive to Houston Thursday night, we would drive to Sante Fe Friday, stay the weekend and drive back Monday. The next day, I packed, cleaned my apartment and baked some cookies for the road. Thursday afternoon I drove to Houston.

When he drove up to his apartment parking space I was sitting on the tailgate of my Element waiting. He walked up to me and gave me a tender hug.

“I didn’t think I’d ever see you again,” he said smiling.

We sat on his balcony as we had before and once again I felt completely at ease with him. He put his hand on my knee and said, “I’m glad you’re here.”

“Me too,” I said.

The next morning we packed up the rental car and drove out of Houston.



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