- 5:17 p.m.: T2Mary: 2 hours, 23 minutes
- Red House Iced Coffee: I’m at a coffee shop in Keene, NH. “Local brew” takes on a whole new meaning to javaholics such as myself.
- Ambient College Town and Instrumental Coffee House Music: I’m in the center of town, parked in front of Brewbaker’s Cafe’s front window. Traffic is noisy outside.
I need to eat. A cup of skim milk and two protein shakes do not comprise any sort of nutrition, even when combined with coffee and daily multivitamins. I also need to update my “character sheet” for my Dungeons and Dragon’s run tomorrow. Oh yes, and there’s the townwide garage sale, which I’m participating in.
Unfortunately for my stomach, and my Level 2 Barbarian, I’m a writer. The urge to write overrides the need for food. Eclectic New England college town, classic main street, coffee shop, kiddo at home, chilling in his room and sounding cheerful… these are the things the writer in me craves.
I’m also hoping Mary Chapin Carpenter, who is performing next door in just 2.5 hours, might amble in for a cup of coffee. Highly improbable, but a folk fangirl can dream.
I’ve been “running away from home” a bit lately. In mid-April I spent a day in Somerville, MA, getting new ink on my left shoulder and chilling out at a coffee and board game cafe. Two weeks ago I drove up to Lubec, Maine, the easternmost part of the United States for a weekend. Here I am again, in an almost remote part of New England.
It’s not that I don’t love my husband, or spending time with him, because I most certainly do. I’m just chasing Mary, or, more accurately, Maria.
The Maria in “Maria Cristina” or “Cris” has become integral to my quest to find, or rather accept, myself before I turn 50. I know who I turned out to be. I understand what the first five decades of my life have shaped me into. The first two lines of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s I Take My Chances sum up my entire life perfectly:
“I took a walk in the rain one day
On the wrong side of the tracks..”
They definitely define the mother I turned out to be. Walking on the “right side” of the tracks would have me in New Jersey, living with my kid, or, if I couldn’t do that, at least not helicopter mom-ing from 200 miles away.
I never set out to “tempt fate” or to tell it “fate, don’t tempt me“, that’s just how it worked out. No matter the potential consequences, I take my chances. I’ve crossed lines with words and wire, and yes, both have cut me deep.
The challenge has been not to cling to remorse or regret. I’ve never quite learned that part. It’s not the mistakes you make that define you. It’s how you set about fixing the genuine mistakes you make. It’s also about knowing the difference between real, live mistakes, and the regrets you have over choices you made that seemed right at the time.
Chasing Mary – learning to live with the person I’ve become, the mistakes I’ve made, the choices I made, fixing what I can, accepting what I can’t, and NOT looking back over my shoulder.
As the song goes, forgiveness doesn’t come with a debt, not even to yourself…
Fine fine stomach! Enough already. I’ll feed you! No fair dragging the blood sugar into it!