Seriously? I had been the one on constant kp duty (he was very helpful, but still) and he needed the break? He must have seen the look in my eyes. "You, uh, you did book your after-the-holiday spa appointment, right?" he asked. "I mean, you could come with me," was the feebly extended invitation.
I nodded. I understood his need, I actually felt the same way, but having given birth to four children, a long road trip was akin to touring every bathroom between here and the Kentucky mountains. It's really fine, and I'm glad he feels that after thirty-one years of marriage he can go off by himself for two days with my blessing. He often travels for business, so I have to admit I have grown accustomed to the totally snore-free (sorry to overshare) environment that his travels often afford me.
Two weeks ago, during the Passover chaos, we dashed out one afternoon to see a Broadway show called The Lyons. I share the name of the play in warning--it's really not worth the effort, and besides, I'm about to tell you how it ends. The premise is a tired one, a dysfunctional family gathers around the dying father, the deathbed scene is laced with revelations, backstabbing and candor all delivered with gleeful aplomb by the long suffering wife in the form of Linda Lavin who, should you not heed my warning, is well worth the ticket price. Her voice and delivery crackle in the Broadway version of a master class in acting. But here's the point I've been distracting myself from getting to, after an unhappy marriage and two worthless adult kids with whom she has hardly any relationship, Rita Lyons (Linda) decides to run off to Bermuda indefinitely, a couple days after burying her husband,with her grandchild's tutor, that she just met a couple of days prior.
Huh? You might say, as did I. Seriously, Rita (Linda), if you were that unhappy, why didn't you leave--at any point? Her children, although they barely have a thread of warmth or real love toward their mother are aghast, astonished,appalled, any "A" word you can think of. It made me wonder about the playwright, so I looked up Nicky Silver. At first I thought him a her, because I wondered that a man could accurately feel that kind of trapped, helpless feeling that could only warrant the extreme behavior of leaving one's home of forty years with a complete stranger. I hate how sexist that sounds, but lately I've been hearing of men who have had enough and are simply heading out the door. I digress.
But really, secretly, everyone (most likely) has had a moment or two (or five) when they wonder about that feeling. That incredible freedom of JUST LEAVING, consequences be damned. The reason it's a fleeting moment (for the sane amongst us) is that we are aware of the terrible ramifications of acting irresponsibly and we really love our spouses and children, although sometimes... I'm not talking about a situation where something is truly not working or is harmful. I'm talking about a moment, a consequence-free moment when you keep driving past your exit on the highway, when you aren't immediately accessible on the cell, when you are only taking yourself into consideration. It's connecting to your selfish
inner-child, to a simpler time and it is allowed--as long as you come back before anyone realizes you were missing.
My husband asked permission to take a two day break. It never occurred to me for a minute to say anything but "have a wonderful time--bring me a mug." And I know he would say the same to me--he did in fact, when he sent me (pregnant with number four) to Paris with a friend. "Go now, or you will NEVER see it. I'll stay with the kids," was the generous offer.
I'm still thinking about the bizarre end of the play I'm urging you not to see. It makes absolutely no sense, unless it makes absolute sense. It all depends on where you're standing; how desperate you're feeling. We've all stood there, for a moment, but then we realized how blessed we truly were and smiled through the chaos and the stress and focused on the good that comes after sticking around to long enough to see the rewards.