© Copyright 2002 by Tiffany Biles
As I sit in my office, counting the minutes until five o’clock, I’m reminded of high school, and that last hour of class each Friday. The way the clock seemed to have stopped, and the silence of everyone reading made my head as heavy as lead, my senses numb near the point of exhaustion. I’m still that hormone saturated, starved for intensity, 17-year-old, only 10 years wiser…well, perhaps not wise, but at least more experienced. But even a wife, a mother of two, a marketing director of a multi-million dollar company, needs a few days away. A few days to act her age, before she wakes up one day to discover that her body is gone, replaced by that of the 40-year-old that’s been living in her head for the past 20 years.
So I sit here…3 ½ hours away from four days in the city with my husband…four days of debauchery and mayhem (or, at least, 4 days of borderline binge drinking, gluttony, and animal-like sex). The excitement at the thought of "getting away from it all" is like an itch under my skin that has me pacing the office like a caged cat. I can almost taste the spiced rum and feel the hot massage of bubbles from the Jacuzzi; but, that little fantasy only claimed 30 seconds of my seemingly never-ending prison sentence.
I remember a similar sensation of excitement like this from childhood. Tossing and turning the entire night before the annual family summer vacation. The eternal night finally cut short by my father carrying me to the tightly packed car in pajamas. The smell of the air like cool rain, the stars a blanket of diamond studded velvet, and my father’s voice, still gravely from sleep, shouting, "Let’s get this show on the road! We’re already fifteen minutes behind!"
"Behind what?" I wondered. He believed that by leaving at four a.m. we would beat traffic…never considering that traffic in our small Oklahoma town consisted of a school bus and a mini-van meeting at a four-way stop simultaneously. The irony of my father’s thinking was that by leaving at four, we arrived in Dallas at eight…prime-time horn-honking, car-swerving, "get the hell off the road"-ing, morning rush hour traffic. But that never stopped Dad. Every year, every vacation, be it to the Grand Canyon or Colorado Springs, he had in his head the time we should pass each and every town, national landmark, and truck-stop before we even left the house.
Dallas, though…he was a pro when it came to the Dallas vacation. It was a trip made each summer by us, his family before us, and probably even his father’s family before that. This meant that if we didn’t reach "Ted’s Truckstop and Video Rental" in Decatur by 6:30 am there was some great calamity about to occur which would tear the very fabric of the universe (at least that’s how he reacted).
This isn’t to say it was a bad trip by any means…quite the contrary. My dad’s idiosyncrasies ("Can I get in that lane Lisa?! Lisa! Can I get over?!! HUH?!!!") were just part of what made him our father…so we had nooo problem just tuning him out. And even my parents arguing for three hours over whose fault it was that they missed exit 82 was worth it for this one trip. The trip my siblings and I had waited an entire school year for…our Mecca, or promised land, our Utopia. Six Flags Over Texas.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s the destination of families all over the south-west. Equipped with hip packs, durable Velcro shoes, and plastic mesh ball caps promoting telephone or gas companies, they come by the thousands to scream, vomit, sunburn, and walk themselves to exhaustion. And, let’s not forget boys and girls…they come to wait in lines so long there are actual road signs stating, "You are 3 hours and 45 minutes from the Texas Giant," (or The Flashback, or Mr. Freeze, or whatever new 30 second ride has just opened for the season). Despite all this, for me and my brother and sister, this was a mystical place…a place smelling equally of popcorn and stagnant water, candy and black-top roads…yet, a place where, for just a few seconds every hour or so, we could actually fly (or at least feel as if we were).
Today, as the clock slips slowly past 3:25, I sit here with the same desire to take flight. Maybe we’ll go to Six Flags while we’re in Dallas, maybe we won’t. Of all of the vacations I’ve taken in my life, be it Las Vegas with my ex-husband or the Oklahoma City Zoo with my daughters, I’ve come to understand that it’s not the place that makes the vacation exciting. It’s the people you share it with.
I’ve seen Picassos and Van Goghs, admired their beauty, then turned away only to have my thoughts swept away by some trial in my life. When, and if, I see them this weekend, however, the power they invoke within me will be multiplied by the fact that I am sharing them with someone I love more than all the petty concerns that make up being (pick your noun here…a woman, an adult, an American). It is him that makes it a vacation…my husband…being near enough to him in some quiet museum to hear his breath, seeing the image of the painting reflected in his eyes, laughing with him over coffee in the restaurant downstairs.
He told me once that we couldn’t afford a vacation. The house needed painting; the credit card bill balance was getting too high. I told him that a relationship is like anything else in life. It needs regular maintenance. It needs laughter to heal old wounds, affection to mend troubled thoughts, love to keep it strong.
This mini-vacation to Dallas is just that…regular maintenance. Time to get away from our regular routine and take a few days to immerse ourselves in our love for one another. It’s a time when, for a few days out of the year…we can actually fly.
I'm a 26 year old Comanche Indian, the mother of two daughters, a wife (for the second time), and the marketing director of Native American Casino in Oklahoma. I have a BA in Communications with a minor in English Lit., and before my current position at the casino I was in local television news (reporter, then producer, then manager).
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Another Story By Tiffany--From One Divorcee To Another