We just got back from a week of vacation on a beautiful lake about an hour and fifteen from Kookytown.
I've rented this same cottage for five years now. It feels like home each time we arrive. And it hurts a bit more each year, when I clean up and drive off, leaving the place for the next set of renters. I do get attached.
We four really relaxed out there. Swimming, eating, drinking, reading and watching movies comprised our menu of activities. Not to mention the day-long Monopoly marathons. There was one lunch comprised of pizza slices from the nearby town's pizzeria, and that visit extended into the traditional sojourn to the town groceteria for the obligatory junk food, cheap magazines and sweet, sweet corn, grown locally.
By week's end, you finally start to feel in tune with what life might actually have been about, in another time and place.
But, inevitably, reality jars you back to the little niggle of stress in your stomach.
We drove back to Kookytown, listening to the fading, garbled strains of the the radio station that doesn't quite make it from cottage country to big city frazzle.
Then: unpack, make dinner, confront piles of laundry, view more piles of mail to open, consign luggage to the basement, unwind, regain sense of space....and, oh no: the phone messages.
CLICK: "Hello? Can you please tell John I found my purse, and I can lend him the money he needs now?"
I'm getting a bigger lump in my stomach as I listen.
"Hello? So, anyway, tell John...I mean, tell Anthony, I found my purse. If he needs money, I can give it to him."
Long silence. "Will you tell him that?" Loud click.
That was Doris, continuing her kooky story line. Anthony needs money. He was trying to steal it out of her account. She got angry. He told her he didn't need money. Now, she's calmed down, and wants to give him some money.
Since he needs it.
I replace the phone with resignation. Holidays are over. Doris wants to lend Anthony money.
And I'm picking my mother up from the retirement residence in two days.
She's been there since the end of June, and I've gotten quite used to having my life back, thank-you very much.
But Sally's coming home. I dread it, and I'm not 100% sure why.
I need to think about this very carefully. What to do, what to do?