It’s nearly 8:00 p.m. on a humid December evening, and I’m sipping a martini in an old, beautiful hotel down by the beach. Frank Sinatra apparently stayed here at one point, one of many luminaries who have. There’s Christmas music being piped into the cocktail bar here, and it might even be him singing. There are chandeliers, atmospheric lighting, poinsettias and a gorgeous Christmas tree. There are also a couple of overweight, fanny-pack wearing tourist-y types perched at the bar, but I’m trying to block out their image.
You’re probably thinking that I’ve been whisked away to this island paradise by some rich, debonair new beau. But, no, I have come here alone to celebrate my birthday. And I’m not staying in this hotel. It’s too expensive for the likes of me, alas. But I also can’t complain about the quaint, renovated 1920’s cottage I’m renting. It’s pretty cosy, and although it sleeps six, there’s just me, my pit bull and my chihuahua.
I should also point out that I drove 3.5 hours to get here. There was no flying. This is not the Caribbean. I haven’t even left the state. Despite this, I am quite impressed by the island. I’m actually a little sad that it took me more than eight years to pay this place a visit. I didn’t realize quite how striking the Victorian architecture was in the older parts of the town. The city where I live usually is so devoid of history, and there are so few old buildings. I find this quite disturbing. I don’t like feeling disconnected from the past. What with the almost constant sunshine and high temperatures (this year worse than ever!), there are no seasons to mark the passing of time. No seasons. No old buildings. Sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in some kind of unchanging dream-like void.
But these old, Victorian, wedding-cake like buildings have posed a bit of a problem. As has the beach. I did not quite realize how romantic this place would be. It was perhaps not the smartest idea for a soon-to-be-divorced woman to visit a seaside town in the middle of winter. And not just any old seaside town. This is a seaside town that has been compared to Dickens’ Miss Haversham. All this faded glamour! All this potential that is now gone! God, this town is a symbol for my fucking life.
I spent the first two days reading “Fevre Dream” by George R.R. Martin (I’m currently obsessed by Vampire novels), taking the dogs for walks on the beach, and sobbing because my marriage is soon to be over although I’m no longer sure I want it to be. I’ve been missing my ex-husband-to-be for a couple of weeks now. This was a bit of a surprise because, before this, I was relatively accepting about the whole situation. But then for one whole week, I kept on having these weird, intense dreams in which I would be reaching out for MM but I could no longer get to him. I trust my subconscious. I trust it far more than my poor, addled conscious mind, which doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going half the time. I trust it, and that’s precisely why I was disturbed. I didn’t really know what those dreams meant. All I know is that when I got in the car to drive here there is nobody I would rather have had with me than MM.
Before these dreams came along, my mind was almost “spotless” (in the sense of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” in which the main characters erase their memories of their lovers after a painful break-up). I wouldn’t say I was happy exactly, but the Seroquel kept me very fucking level. I would have a sad thought, but instead of “disappearing down the rabbit hole” – as my therapist calls it – I was able to “check the facts” (more therapy speak) and see the pros and cons to every situation.
I haven’t, by the way, heard from, or wanted to hear from, RG since Hallowe’en when he texted me out of the blue to ask me to some stupid party. I was too busy changing my cats’ litter (seriously) to agree to go. I simply cannot believe that I would ever have been interested in such a turd let alone waste several blog posts writing about the wee fucker. RG is now just a distant bad memory. If I happened to find myself in an inebriated and horny state in a bar and came across him, I cannot guarantee that I wouldn’t shag him again, but if he texted me asking me to meet up, I would ignore the text. No desire to see him whatsoever. All he ever was, I suppose, was a distraction to keep my mind off my marriage breaking up.
UPDATE: 11:20 a.m. on Monday December 10th. I meant to write more last night, but this old Republican guy at the bar (with an absolutely monstrous-looking moustache that covered his entire mouth) kept on buying me martinis, which was nice of him given that I spent the entire time insulting his politics. I finally stumbled home, blind drunk, around midnight on the road beside the beach.
This is my last day here. I’ll be leaving in a few hours.