The air was thick with humidity, Emily hadn’t seen the sun in five straight days. To say she was going “stir-crazy” was the understatement of a lifetime. It was hard to breathe, harder to move. She was home with her teenage children, her husband worked long hours and while he used to call her nine times a day just to say hello, he had stopped calling altogether. She had signed up for a clay class but she just heard that it had been cancelled. Her volunteer work at the hospital had ended three weeks ago. She had nothing to do, nowhere to go and she was starting to feel bored, restless and just a little off-center.
She made dinner for the family, most of which was eaten in silence. The cat, Ivy, purred on the sofa, her head resting on a ball of blue yarn. Emily let out an audible sigh of envy, at least the cat was happy, she thought, at least someone was, she certainly wasn’t. What was it about this summer that seemed so different? She felt so closed in, none of her friends were around and there was nothing to do, no one to talk to. She wasn’t brave enough to fly someplace alone and even if she was, they couldn’t afford it but she knew it couldn’t go on like this, she needed to do something, soon.
She thought about it that week and slowly she came up with an idea, an idea that made her smile inwardly. She came up with a plan that involved everything she loved, didn’t cost a lot of money, gave her independence and a mini-vacation. She didn’t ask anyone’s permission, why should she? She had waited on her husband and family for years but one night she told them, not asked them, that she was going to be away for a few days, with her old college roommate. They barely even acknowledged what she said, they mumbled “ok” and her son asked ” Who is going to cook us dinner?” was the only question asked by her son. You’ll figure it out, ” she said calmly, “Dad can give you extra money for pizza.”
The next morning, after everyone had left she packed her car, turned on the music, her music, on loud and headed to meet her old friend in Boston. She knew they were heading to the beach, which beach she wasn’t sure. She would stop at a motel or an Inn, whatever appealed to her on the way. There were no rules, no rules except for her to have fun and to do whatever made her happy. She had packed a few books, she had her radio and she felt peaceful. She was going to pick up Jane and then Jane would take over the driving. Leaving had made her happy, that was something to think about on its own.
They hugged tightly when they saw each other, it had been years since their last reunion. Jane took over the driving while Emily, now wearing her new sunglasses, put her arm and hand out the window in joyous rhythm to the music she loved. She tilted her head back, grinning, laughed happily and sang, loudly off-key.