After two weeks solid of narration, and three busy weeks with the kids, and starting a new session of classes and one I haven’t taught before…well, I was feeling way overwhelmed and desperately needed a vacation. But where can you go when you really only have a day and a half off? I decided to book an expensive inn in Saugatuck, Michigan. I could pick up Biff after work, drive twenty more minutes, and we’d be there. Romantic inn, walks along the beach, total relaxation.
Now I’ve stayed at B&B’s before and I always found them a little creepy, but this one was highly recommended and from the website the rooms looked pretty spacious and private. More quirky hotel than creepy inn. When I talked to the innkeeper I told her I was a writer and needed a room with a desk, something private and relaxing. “We have just the room for you. It’s called the Kyoto.” Okay. I envisioned a spacious room and a bubble jet bath and me lounging around in my bathrobe while Biff volunteered to give me body rubs. Mmmm.
Walking up to the inn felt pretty okay. We walked a lilac lined sidewalk and past giant white tulips, a beautiful miniature Japanese Maple, and into the inn. We were welcomed by a little old woman with snow-white hair. She complained of allergies. Suddenly, there was a twist in my stomach. It felt a little creepy. It felt like staying at your grandparents’ house, if you have grandparents you don’t know very well and are afraid might punish you if you’re too loud.
Up the creaky stairs and into the spacious Kyoto with….wait a minute…it wa a teeny, tiny room loaded with wicker furniture and a shower that (as Biff said) you had to battle to get into because of the hundred curtains. It was also 80 degrees. “A little trouble with the heating,” the innkeeper said then she adjusted the thermostat. I think she turned it up.
It was okay. We were having hor dourves and wine in half an hour and it was my mini-vacay, time to relax, be romantic, and eat.
I’d envisioned a group of hip thirty-year-olds (like us, yes?) in town for min-vacays too. Maybe we’d meet other writers and movie people and artists. Then I got the second twinge in my stomach. We were the youngest (by decades) of the twelve couples. And everyone was having an anniversary or a wedding. “Someone’s going to ask us if were married,” I said. “Tell them that we are married but not to each other. We’ll say we’re here to have an affair.” Biff agreed.
Later as Biff stood in line for seconds (the appetizers were good: bruschetta with lots of garlic, zucchini straws, fancy cheeses) I heard someone ask him if we had just gotten married. “Noooooo,” he said. “Been there, done that, don’t think I’m doing that again.” And that’s when I got my third twinge. Not that I want to marry him, for god’s sake, it’s even too early to even think such a thing, but there was something in that phrase that scared the crap out of me. Will need to see my therapist to figure it out.
“I don’t want to talk to people,” I said.
“That’s okay, me either,” Biff said. We ate. We smiled. Then listened as the old people around us talked about the massive infestation of tent worms, how you can here them crunch under your feet. At the time I was crunching bruschetta with garlic chopped in pesto. I imagined crunching caterpillars. I set it down.
Then we went to dinner. We walked the block into town and settled in at Phil’s, a local pub/bar type restaurant with brown paper on the tables. It smelled like fish. I like fish so that was okay. We sat reading the menu waiting for our portabella fries to be delivered.
“They have chicken, Biff. Look!” I pointed to the fried chicken platters at the bottom of the menu. Biff does a good job of trying all the weird kind of food I like, but at the heart of it, he’s a simple man. Not simple as in, uhm, mentally challenged, but as in a Midwestern eater. That sounds bad. I don’t mean it to. At any rate, I pointed to the chicken.
He looked at me intensely. “I’ll take a leg and a thigh.”
I blinked. Why was his voice all low? I lowered mine too. “Ohhhhh, that sounds good. You must be a dark meat man. I prefer white meat. I like wings the most…” I was purring it, channeling Eartha Kitt.
He just looked at me, exasperated like. “Tanya, no. I was flirting with you. I wasn’t saying I wanted dark meat. I was saying I want YOUR leg and thigh. Can I have YOUR leg and thigh please?”
I laughed for about five minutes over that one and then said “Sure.” He ended up having an open face steak sandwich, and to broaden my horizons I ordered a steak salad (it still had spinach and goat cheese so I was comfortably within my safe zone.)
We walked back to the inn. Crept quietly up the stairs. I took a shower. A perfectly nice shower but I still mourned that there was no tub shooting massaging water. I put a robe on. I kissed Biff a little bit. And then fell deeply asleep. It was 9PM, and I was tired. Exhausted. But relaxed.