Friday, July 6, 2012


I woke up this morning in the St. Thomas home of my brother and sister-in-law and nephews and nieces and thought, This is what I need, to live out of one suitcase for two weeks (the weather and view and beach visits and time with family won't hurt either).

I think this is vacation, distilled, for me: one suitcase. Less baggage, people; I didn't bring much. The albatross didn't fit either. One suitcase means fewer decisions, less stuff to manage. I've left behind the broken things (fridge, bathroom, light fixtures) in need of maintenance, which, because it's summer and I have time off work, remind me more often that they're still languishing and I have fewer excuses for their neglect.

I've left behind the piles.

Poor husband has been abandoned too, working his busiest season, perhaps enjoying a little less to manage himself. He returned only a week ago from a trip Midwest to visit his dad and sister; it seems this summer will be about tending to our farther-flung relationships, or at the very least our own needs to do so.

This past month I've been feeling a lot, as if my skin and scalp and heart and mind and soul have been over sensitized. My brain and body, accustomed to the distraction of work and daily routine, find themselves idle, in search of objects of attention.

My body is easy to occupy for the summer; I can run more often, sleep more.

My brain proves less simple to lasso or healthily engage. I'm driving more, imagining disasters. I could crash so easily. This vacation, ripe with potential in the abstract: What if we drown. What if our plane crashes.

My summer reads are rife with import and suggested relevance. This one features an unhealthy marriage and I sift for elusive parallels. This one's main character is an ailing 44-year-old. Mortality thoughts overwhelm me, and I find myself growing accustomed to the squeezing of the chest, the tummy clench. For the first time, perhaps, I understand a desire to escape oneself and the cloying anxiety. I anticipate a crescendo and hope I'm at the vertex of menses and my annual summer transition limbo. After all, I know many without the luxury to dwell on imagined anxieties.

The last time I felt this way it was called The Baby Blues, and I had my firstborn to clutch, she the reason for my momentary madness as well as its antidote. Now two strong bolts bind me firmly to husband, my hinge.

I work to relax my psyche. I wave my arms at the crazed birds threatening to circle my head in frantic orbit and blur my vision. I am still. I am patient.

And this morning, one suitcase, two girls. Damp air that makes my hair curl and my skin and edges soft. Cousins who carry off our daughters in a hurricane of play and activity and love. A house that's not mine to tend to. Faith in all we've left behind.

Oh, and a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey from my sister-in-law. I can feel the stress ebbing.


Marisa Reichardt said...
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Marisa Reichardt said...

I love the poetic vibe of this post. I find that when I'm out of my routine, I tend to feel the most anxious. A few days in paradise always help it to pass.