I needed a vacation, an escape from something I did not want to yet face. Working at a job and at my own business was wearing on me, my relationship was faltering. The Minnesota climate was not as endearing anymore. My friend offered to venture away with me to San Diego and we could meet up with one of her friends there. Then I would test myself by going five days on my own and see if I could feel safe enough to travel alone.
I recall her friend is fun and he enjoyed showing us around. Once again the Zoo there is amazing, I could stay petting dolphins for hours, and the flamingos, well that became a theme for her and I for years to come. We would send each other the same flamingo ceramic figure, back and forth, or if visiting, hide it to be found at a later date, plus holiday ornaments, purses, it was a crazy thing. I love her spirit.
I recall one day walking in a certain part of town and a powerful feeling of anxiety overcame me, and I literally had to turn around and say I don't want to walk down there, for no apparent reason. So we did not and the feeling left. Later this same year I learned my ex-hubby was living in San Diego, and well I knew my body or subconscious was reacting to being in the same vicinity. It is not that our marriage even ended badly emotionally for me, but the universe has chosen to not have us meet again face to face ever since we divorced, even though I have kept in touch with his parents for 40 years, and I know he is doing well. So anyway, it was odd.
I loved San Diego and my beautiful girlfriend and I had a grand time, but now it was time for me to try being on vacation alone, so I flew off to Albuquerque. Upon landing, I found a place to stay, unpacked and went to the lobby bar. I started to journal, and I seemed to have acquired an allergy because my eyes were watering terribly. In a few minutes two guys approached me and plopped down a pitcher of beer and said it looks like you need this more than we do. They thought with my teary eyes I was in the middle of writing some Dear John letter. I explained, and well the conversation went from there, and then next we were dining, then bowling and met up with more of their friends. It was a lovely day and evening. I had rented a car and was heading up to Santa Fe and obtained phone numbers so when I came back I could give them a call to gather again.
Santa Fe smells glorious, the pines the dirt, my soul is happy. I got a place to hang my hat, then wandered through so many galleries and sculpture venues. I found some trinkets to take home. I drove over to visit my childhood friend's father and his wife who lived near by for an afternoon, and was able to witness the joy of living in them both. So reassuring, I had always loved this man's kind heart. I enjoyed a night of music and exploring. The next day I drove to Ojo Caliente as I wanted to get a massage. It was a long drive and the last half of it on gravel, I was not sure I was even going the right way. Then the sign, and all alone a large building, with two cars.
It cost $18. First I went into a hot mineral bath from the spring there, then a massage, then a body wrap. I was limp, but after a few soothing moments, I became extremely hot, I rocked back and forth until I could free a hand, which I used to toss the towel off my head, relief then too hot again, so off came all the towels, then a frantic voice, I am so sorry we should have come here 15 minutes ago to free you. Here drink a gallon of water. Well I floated to my car, and drove to Albuquerque. Flopped into my room, called "the guys" and found out one of the guys had died in a hang gliding accident and the wake was tonight at their home, would I mind going.
I witnessed a beautiful scene, much different than the culture around wakes I had experienced before. His large portrait on the table surrounded by candles, his wife and small child greeting everyone with grief, love, gratefulness, and even laughter with the stories of his journey. The keg was out back, so many people, and I had forgotten not to drink alcohol after the four hour spa experience. I don't speak Spanish, but it sounded lovely, and my driver ever alert to my wobbliness and the late hour, helped me to my room. Even in sorrow kindness prevails.
I awoke to the realization I had committed to a horse back ride down by the Rio Grande and was being picked up in 10 minutes. Dear Lord, hungover and on horseback in the sun was challenging. After food was consumed I slept so soundly that I almost missed getting to the airport. Addresses were exchanged.
On the flight home I knew my life was changing, my wandering eye needed a new view in many ways. I was also very happy to feel that I could take a longer trip by myself, as all the people I had met were genuine, kind souls. I was good to go.
Life on Gravel
About the Author
City girl sharing stories of a life full of country glitter and other shit.