16/60

       The typing is bold, and I’m old. But I feel like I’m 16 but I’m over 60. How can this be?

        Not since I was 16 have I been on my own, that is not paired with a guy. When I was 17, I fell head over heels in love with an older guy, I was sure I was going to marry him. I was 18 when we broke up. I cried my eyes out and slept for weeks.

       Then that fall, the fall of my freshman year at the University of Minnesota I met Bob. He was just a year older than me; innocent and full of energy. He fell head over heels in love with me, the kind of love that never ended. The next spring Bob and I got engaged. We got married when I was 20 and he was 21. Over the years we struggled and then reached an ultimate state of marital harmony, now after 49 years, Bob has gone beyond this world, I’m here on my own.

        I feel a joy and a peace in being here alone. I can center myself on my breath, feeling the marvelous experience of the air moving in and out of my being. Every moment, every movement brings me joy, yet sometimes I cry in my aloneness. I grab Bob’s necklace that I wear upside down around my neck, the gold sailboat on a gold chain I gave him. He wore it continuously until he was hospitalized for cancer treatment. I feel his presence, his strength is still with me.

        We were going to go on a big trip for our 50th, but I’m doing it on my own. Traveling now is going with the flow, not rushing just moving forward in time and space. There are things I need to do, I want to do, and they are materializing around me with the help of friends and family, like I am surrounded by angels guiding every step.

        I needed a roommate and the angel Sarah appeared at the Sister Bay Fine Arts Festival. Somehow I mentioned to her that I had a spare room. We share a love of plants and healthy food. She likes my cooking and loves to clean. She doesn’t mind caring for my red wigglers. She and her sidekick the dog, Charlie , are there, caring of my house while I am gone on this journey. I give thanks for their presence.

       I needed help leaving my house in Wisconsin. My brother and son came for Thanksgiving and helped me get out the door. Packing for five months and five trips on one journey felt like it was going to overwhelm me. Bob had always planned our trips, I just went along for the ride, now it is my turn to plan, and plan some more. After all the packing and checking off lists I found myself in Minneapolis without a brush, luckily Target just around the block carried my brush.

      I needed guidance to buy clothes for a 22 day cruise. Theresa drove me to the best bargains in Minneapolis, and advised me on what to wear so I’ll look almost 16.

      I needed places to stay on my trip to Texas. My brother, my outlaw Lisa, and Bob’s first cousins Darlene & Tom opened their doors for me.

      Whenever I come to a fork in the road unsure which way to turn, I stop and take a deep breath and look inside to find a guiding light. Some might say I say a prayer, some might say I give thanks to the Lord, to the Holy Spirit, to Jesus, to my higher power. I have trouble giving it a name, any name divides us, we are all seekers on a journey.

     Right now that journey is a trip. As I was driving south through MO my eyes and body became exhausted. I turned into a gas station and found diesel for the truck. I wobbled as I returned from the restroom, too tired to continue. I drove into a large parking lot dominated by a tall square building of inhumane dimensions. I did not feel like dragging my tired body out of the car and up to the door of that monolith.

      I glanced around and looked on my phone for a place to stay in Nevada MO. That tall building was The Holiday Inn Express, it was $98 a night, but right next door was the Country Inn that was $89 a night. It was shaped like a large rambling home far more inviting to my tiredness than the tall squareness.

     I drove there and parked near a side door. I imagined a room on the first floor just inside that door. I walked in the front door and up to the desk

     “I want a room with internet, a microwave a refrigerator with an AARP discount.”

      “I have one with two queens and one with a king.”

      I hadn’t asked for a bed, and I didn’t need two. “I’ll take the one bed, thanks.” I answered.

      She handed me the key to 104. As I turned down the hall and walked up to 104 I saw it was exactly the one I had imagined when I drove into the parking lot. Once again I gave thanks as I sunk into a soft bed.

     The next day I would continue on to be with grandchildren.

 

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