For some time I had been wicked stressed, taking on way more than I could handle but I did it -- well disguised on the outside but a veritable mess on the inside. So finally when I was able to convince myself that I was no superwoman in spite of what I liked to believe, and that it was nothing to be ashamed of, I felt a sense of relief. However, it was now time to make up for lost time and "unhad" fun. What better way to let my guard down and experience unadulterated bliss then to go away with my two closest friends?
The grand getaway to the Cape was now underway! Unfortunately we soon realized that the shiny black Explorer that had been deliberately chosen for its size (and style) did not have the capacity to hold our belongings (the shoes alone for the next two days were enough to adorn the feet of every runway model from New York to Paris). Within minutes the smart car turned dark inside as the windows began to get covered with overstuffed bags piled on top of each other. The classy trio, casually dressed in blue jeans and sweatshirts, meticulously planned through countless hours of texts, was nothing more than a bunch of indecisive, hoarding bag ladies behind closed doors. In spite of the eyesore, each felt a certain inner peace knowing that there was enough wine and munchies to host lavish threesome parties in stylish clothes and matching accessories if we were ever to be stranded across the Bourne Bridge. And although, it was a bit claustrophobic inside, I was already starting to breathe in peace.
What a riotous ride it was with my beautiful 20-something girlfriend driving the getaway car, my 30-something lovely friend providing the much-needed voice of calm and (okay -- if I must) a 40-something me, admittedly crazy, providing comic relief that the other two were expected to laugh at -- funny or not. (And oh -- there was a 7-year-old tucked away in the back because of lack of childcare along with his best friend for company -- but they pretended to be invisible and that was just fine with us).
The ride to the destination was everything and more than what we had plotted it would be. The anticipation of what was to come was overwhelming and the non-stop planning of what was to happen every minute of the next two days was thrilling! We were like little school children planning a party; our list was endless and mindless F-U-N was going to be the only edict.
The playlist was ready too. My girlfriends had been promised a dance; in fact this whole trip had been born a few months ago in another car ride when a serious conversation was abruptly interrupted to dance to Uptown Funk. There had not been much room to wiggle then as I was in the driver's seat and so of course, the shuffle for the getaway included my man -- Bruno Mars.
It was a balmy 56 degrees at the beach but who cared? We were just happy to find seclusion, eat, drink out of owl sippy cups and be merry. My one-woman dance party experienced a minor glitch; instead of dancing with Bruno, I was left struggling with Charlie. My girlfriends were very impressed with my over the top dance moves and the squeals that followed shortly. I was horrified that they laughed even when I was finally able to convey to them that the overpowering twitching and grabbing of my left leg with my right arm and contorting it to reach my forehead to let the blood flow freely through my veins, were simply to drive away the Charlie Horse that had rudely trotted into my dance party. My girlfriends were hysterical as I lay on the sand writhing in pain. The cramp left a dent in my calf but did not dampen the spirit. The two immature schoolgirls had felt obligated to record my moves and having captured an unexpected footage at my painful expense, decided to play it over and over that night to amuse themselves.
That evening when we started getting ready for dinner all three of us faced a dilemma: we could not find the perfect pair of shoes to match our outfits. There were too many to choose from and we arrived at Landfall fashionably late, still complaining about our quandary. Why did we go to dinner in the first place -- I don't know for we were too full. Shortly afterwards as I coolly walked over to the handsome, young host to ask for directions to the Ladies Room, I realized that I was losing my pants but fortunately I was able to quickly pull them up. I had forgotten that as soon as we were seated in the elegant restaurant, I had taken advantage of the dimly lit décor to undo my belt and unzip my jeans, which were a tad bit tight on the belly but matched the chosen shoes. When I came back to excitedly relate this story to my graceful friends, they revealed that they had done exactly the same and informed me matter-of-factly: "Everyone does this but no one blurts it out like you." From that point onwards I was not interested in the sizzling Clam Chowder, the warm, savory bread or the succulent Scrod -- all I wanted to do was to see how many glamorous ladies I could catch with their zippers down.
That night after we got into our soft clothes and poured glasses of wine into plastic cups, ready for the all-night rendezvous, something happened that may have scarred me forever. The girls were starting to get noticeably restless, holding on to their pillows tightly to their chests. Of course we had brought our favorite pillows along (because we ladies are veraciously faithful to our pillows and refuse to sleep with others') but what my two friends pulled out of theirs and began to uncontrollably sniff was utterly horrifying. If I knew them well they would never do anything illegitimate and I was dying to know what had been hidden in the deep recesses of their pillows. Finally the dirty secret was revealed and out came "DDs" and "Blanks" and then "Mr. Edgar." Mr. Edgar (AKA Edgie Boy or simply Edgar) was the innocent soft toy -- a dog of sorts with a button nose; DDs was a knotty yellowish string with a few bumpy, tangled threads hanging loosely while Blanks resembled a nubby, dirty tannish mophead. It was a scene out of a horror movie as the two grown ladies tightly held DDs and Blanks close to their chest, caressed them furiously against their cheeks and sniffed them ferociously from time to time. After I was able to recover somewhat from this bizarre scene straight out of The Exorcist, I found out that these full grown women, who I had so long mistaken to be fairly normal ladies, are not able to go to bed without these now decaying remnants of their childhood. (Both were shocked to find how similar their stories were at which point I was afraid for my safety and the safety of the children in the house). We found out that DDs and Blanks were lily-white comfort blankets some 25 and 35 years ago, and even though they are now shreds of tangled messes, these full-grown women cannot untangle themselves from their twisted grips. Warped tales of DDs and Blanks being secretly smuggled into strangers' pillows during wild nights emerged.
There were also stories of conspiring to dress comfortably on dates whenever possible in oversized sweatshirts with bulky pockets just so they could be snuggled in for the night. I could not pass up the opportunity to interview Edgars, DDs and Blanks when offered. This is what I learned: DDs (First name: D, Middle name D and last name Levy) and Blanks (Blankie and/or Swiss Cheese) have been around since the girls were both babies. DDs once had a friend named Fifi who is no longer with us. DDs was once a full blanket with Mickey Mouse on him. He came to school with my friend till she was in Third grade. He was once lost in the school cafeteria but obviously eventually found; needless to say that it was the most traumatic day for both. Both DDs and Blanks have toured the world extensively but one cardinal rule of travel is that they are never allowed in the checked baggage -- only in the carryon. Blanks also accompanied his mom on her honeymoon to Aruba. Also, there were a few almost heart-breaking incidents of DDs and Blanks being accidently put in the laundry when what they require are special mesh bags and a delicate cycle setting for their occasional baths. Blanks was once tossed around in the mouth of the family Bulldog, Lola, and clearly in the line of fire but Bella, a gentle, friendly Yellow Lab won't even go near DDs. We are not sure if this is the result of Bella having become conditioned after hearing "no" millions of times when she so much as looked at him, or if she is naturally afraid of him. Both DDs and Blanks have survived torture, torment and threats of being thrown out of car windows or tossed into the fire by siblings and parents; DDs' (reluctant) grandpa is convinced that his lovely daughter will someday walk down the aisle with "that thing in your nose." There were also ample stories (like the one about an Amber Alert almost being issued when DDs had recently gone missing) that scared the daylights out of me and made me want to bolt that night. No wonder I stayed up all night as the two crazies lay across the bed with DDs and Blanks draped across their nose, with Edgar keeping guard across the heaving heart.
Next morning I was accused of having no "sleepover etiquette" because I had tried to wake them up all night by doing everything imaginable -- from jumping on the bed (and inadvertently writhing in pain again by hitting my head on the ceiling) and walking on the ocean blue air mattress and pretending to the cross the stormy Atlantic. But nothing worked for such was the potent power of DDs and Blanks.
After a breakfast of homemade pancakes, bacon and chocolate milk (because the nearest Starbucks was miles away and too trendy to travel to in our crazy hair and lazy outfits), the girls hopped into bed with their stringy thingies and snoozed off again! And I am the crazy one?
Of course, the morning was spent straightening hair, trying make up on and reminiscing about the previous night. I realized that I may have had a few too many drinks (out of sheer terror, I am sure) when I was reminded of all the non-stop "f" words I had used, because ordinarily I do not ever use swears. There was something so liberating to be able to swear and spill out matters of the heart without being judged and even though, I had realized that my beautiful friend was "yessing" me to death, without paying any heed to what I had to say, it was reassuring that she was there, albeit with strings attached. That night we also broke barriers and deeply bonded by talking about unladylike juvenile topics that had to do with bodily functions; the word "Scrod" now has a whole new meaning as a result.
When it was time to leave, we tried to clean up our mess for we had managed to turn the neat house into a trailer park in just hours. The car was packed once again and this time I politely offered to share the back seat with the garbage stashed in a black trash bag. The plan was to haul it back home but I complained that it stank too much; I had to hold it close to me for lack of space anywhere else (plus we were ready for some adventure). It felt so good to drive up to a beckoning dumpster behind a crowded strip mall, dispose of the waste and then jump back into the getaway car and speed away! We were convinced that we were being followed by Law Enforcement Officials after being spotted dumping illegally and were ready to fire convincing excuses back at them. But unfortunately, we had no such luck but plenty of laughs at their expense.
The next day we drove around aimlessly scouting out fantasy wedding venues, compiling guest lists and planning the most extravagant beach wedding. All we needed to make this a reality was a groom! The exhausting brainwork was followed by a long walk in the light rain, lavish shopping in the quaint stores and more seafood (no one ordered Scrod this time). We were bursting at the seams from the laughs and the lunch but could not resist the enticing cupcakes calling our names from inside a tiny cupcake factory. Later we debated whether to order more wine but unanimously agreed who needs alcohol when life is so goddamn intoxicating? There is nothing more hallucinogenic than close friends and true friendship.
We parted ways that evening with smiles and heavy hearts and a solemn promise that our secrets will be safe forever...