A cottage for two

Our cottage has become so Elaine and me that I can hardly get up the energy to go without her. She was out of town this past weekend so there was none of the synergy that creates the momentum during our preparation: “we need the lawn mower this week”; “I’m picking some vegetables from the garden”; “I’ve got the tools for working on that shed”; “I’ve got the laundry…” So it goes on and before we know it we’ve propelled ourselves out the door, into the car and down the road, dog and all. All with the excitement of an annual camping trip. Listening to us on the way there, you’d think it was our first trip to the cottage.

Once there we fly into a well-rehearsed choreography of unfolding as the car is unloaded, things are unpacked, chairs set out on the porch, the dog taken for her first cruise of the ‘hood to check her pee-mail. Within a half hour we’re sitting on the porch with cold drinks on the coffee table between us,  looking out at the water, happy to be together, discussing what we hope from the weekend. But what is there to discuss when you’re alone? 

Choclate River

Phoning home

On Friday night I phoned my dad. I’ve been calling him a lot more often since my mom died last month. Conversations with my dad have always been lively because he’s so good natured and filled with life but lately there is the added richness that sadness adds to the soul. Conversations get taken to deeper levels. He worries that I’ve lost my mother. I worry that he’s lost his sweetheart, friend and wife. I’ve been at the cottage without Elaine before but this is the first time since my mother passed away which might explain why I felt like some kind of amputee. This weekend I understand a little better what my dad is going through.

Florina Beach Crossroads

The most alone place I know

Without Elaine there on the weekend, the cottage isn’t the cottage. It’s a half-empty little house with a half-empty bed, an extra toothbrush and one lawn chair too many. I’m often alone at the house in Moncton but with our student tenants there has always been so much coming and going there that alone is a relief. 

But the cottage is us. It’s us being us alone together. We plan together, drive together, are entertained together. We go to bed together, we get up together. I feel slightly lonely when we do anything that’s not together, even if we’re in the same room. That’s what the cottage is to us. So this past weekend not having Elaine there was like not being at the cottage at all, but like drifting. I slept too much, movied too much, drank too much. I brought way too much stuff that I didn’t touch.

If I ever need to be alone, the cottage would be the best place, because without Elaine there, it’s the most alone place in the world I know.