I’m have a fantastic lunch in Bennett’s in Ocean Shores, Washington. A too tangy Bloody Mary and a greasy, delicious plate of halibut fish and chips next to my laptop. On my right are 2 gentlemen, #1 salt and pepper, clean-cut, cute late 40ish, clean white t-shirt over a wife beater, jeans, white socks and loafers. Could be a good behavior prisoner or the janitor at the local school. Beside him is a man who obviously looks up to him. Reminds me of the old cartoon with the big dog and the little dog: “What are we going to do today Spike? Huh? Huh? Anything you want Spike! You’re my buddy right Spike?” Dressed the same but, shorter, fatter, receding hairline and, no kidding, a RAT TAIL curling down his back. And here I thought the days of those were gone ohhh 25 years ago. The three of us are the only ones in the bar area. The bartender is a friendly, smiling, tattooed, pushing 60s, tall, thin man with little reading glasses hanging from the front of his unbuttoned black shirt, nestled into the white chest hairs peeking out there.  Could be the owner, Bennett perhaps. I like him.  The restaurant behind us has a few families, the place smells fantastic… If you’re into the smell of deep-fried fish. Today, I AM! The bar looks freshly stained and it looks like fresh paint everywhere. Oddly enough the backs of the bar stools are carved and read Nick and Willy’s Pizza. (I doubt their fish and chips were this good.)

Yesterday I woke up hoping my husband of one full year was feeling good enough to get up and go do something. I was hoping for an overnight trip to Seattle to hang out and do some shopping for school. After all, Josh and I had already packed our overnight bags the day before, showered and were ready to walk out the door when my dear husband said he wasn’t feeling good enough to go anywhere. We had already cancelled the Monday camping trip to Tofino because our watering person is out-of-town this week and Rob wasn’t feeling good. Then Monday evening he threw out some last-minute plans for a Chilliwak fishing/camping trip with 2 other couples. When one of the couples couldn’t go, that one died. Ok, fine, lets go down to Seattle spend a day or two, hang out, get some school shopping done at the outlet stores and go make some fun. Tuesday morning, everyone was on board. Everyone had showered and packed their overnight bags. Rob climbs into bed and pulls the covers over his head, “I don’t feel good enough to go. I need to sleep, maybe we can just leave later.” Ok… Fine, We’ll wait. At 10pm, Josh came to the bedroom door wanting to know if we were going to have dinner? I ended up taking him to Denny’s, Rob didn’t want to go. Josh kept asking if I was mad, I told him I wasn’t mad, just disappointed. It wasn’t dad’s fault that he didn’t feel good.

When he woke up yesterday he got up and made coffee and both looked and sounded better. I was calculating how long we would still have in Seattle if we came back in time to do an early afternoon water at the greenhouses on Thursday. I had decided we could salvage it, We could STILL have fun! I asked if he was ready to get up soon so we could go. He said he still wasn’t feeling all that great. Until… Insert drum roll… the text came in inviting him to go sturgeon fishing right away. He shot out of bed, eyes all lit up. “I just got invited fishing, do you mind if I go?” I just looked at him. “Are you fucking kidding me?” “No, we’re going” then he trotted his formerly too sick to get out of bed ass into the living room to wake up Josh and tell him to get ready to go fishing for the day. I was furious! He hopped in the shower talking to himself about fishing…. By the time he got out of the shower I was crying. What the hell! Can you state any more clearly: “I don’t want to spend time doing anything with you!” When he got out of the shower I told him to tell his texting/fishing buddy Happy Fucking Anniversary and I flew out of bed. Jammed enough clothes for 2 nights into my previously packed Seattle overnight bag and flew out the door telling him I would be home in time to work on Saturday. While he was watching me melt down he was talking about how sour I am and he’ll “make it up to me later”. Every word he said just succeeded in pissing me off more.

Driving down 176, crying and talking to myself, I couldn’t decide where I wanted to go I just knew I needed to. A few random texts from Rob saying he was sorry and would make it up to me later. I just ended up telling him that maybe someday soon I wouldn’t want to be with him either and then his bullshit wouldn’t hurt so bad and not to make promises because he sucks at keeping them. That’s the last I heard from him until 11pm when I was already 6 hours drive away. All he said is ‘Where are you’. (He must have just gotten home and noticed I wasn’t there). I didn’t respond until this morning.  So does that mean I’m pouting? Does that mean I’m over-reacting? I’m sure that’s what he’ll tell me when I get home.

I stopped in Bellingham, filled up the gas tank and bought a Washington State map. Then I stopped for a chicken flauta and a Corona and by the time I got back on the road I felt better. Big deep cleansing breath driving past Chuckanut. I was starting to feel better. I turned at Burlington and headed for Whidbey Island, not sure if I wanted a ferry headed to the San Juan Islands or to the Olympic Peninsula.

***Side note*** Still sitting in Bennett’s as I write this, I ordered a coffee from smiling Bennett and one of my sugar packets contained the following quote. “If you are fortunate you’ll love your work; if you’re wise you’ll work at love.” in the background is the Script singing ‘when the heart breaks, no it don’t break even.’ I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

I ended up on a southbound ferry to Port Townsend. choices choices. Right to Forks and the far northwestern coast of Washington OR south on the 101 to Aberdeen and the southern and central coast of Washington, which I have never seen. I texted Rob this morning from America’s Best in Aberdeen, the birthplace and former home of Kurt Cobain. Just told him what town I was in and that I planned on spending the day in Ocean Shores. He said cool and told me we’re invited to a dinner party on Friday night. “K” was my only reply. I’ve heard nothing since. I don’t want to continue to fight. I really do want to enjoy my time out by myself and at this moment I truly am. I love traveling by myself! Perhaps I’ll write a book about the 40 something woman who travels alone to keep her sanity. I could start with my 2009 camping/road trip of 30 days. ha ha Rob’s family still has an undertoe of grumbling and talking about that one.

This morning, I rolled back through Aberdeen to really get a feeling for town and took a few pictures. It feels very low there. I’m not sure what other word to use. Low… There were a great deal of homeless along the river and the main streets. Maybe just the bad part of town but the further I drove the more of the same I encountered. Lots of boarded up houses and white trash destitution walking the streets.  It reminded me somehow of driving through the tobacco farms and small towns in the hill country of West Virginia when I was little. An almost tangible intensity of the people reaching out for help while their chins jut out with pride. I collected more than a few crooked “What are you looking at?!” glares.

***Second cup/Sugar packet*** “Hope for the best and make peace with the rest.” Huh!

Now what? I suppose I’ll go walk for a bit on the beach and see if I can collect some shells or sea glass for a Memory Jar project I have on the back burner. Then… Maybe north into Forks and the Olympic National Forest, maybe north-east through Seattle and home. We shall see.

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