I lost my job. My 'contract,' though there never was one. It was four years of well-paid month-to-month that ends - entirely expectedly - at the end of January. To get to that End, I have to travel to south Florida, where we lived for four years. I will go back there, and spend ten days ending, or facilitate others' taking over whatever it is I do.
The trip itself has elements I will embrace: there is the ocean, there are close friends, and my sister who is a friend. There are highways that are straight and traffic that is laughable (compared to here.) There are salty breezes and there are shells. And there will be quiet evenings alone, and loud evenings with too much wine and friends. And responsibilities that do not extend to small, demanding people.
Of course I don't want to go. Even with all that said. My life is here, my world is here, my people are here. My small people are my world. And the Big One is here - and he's still my best friend and the person with whom I most want to end my days.
I looked at bringing someone mid-trip. "Someone" meant Annabeth, because I will have just taken a short trip with Sebastian (DC this weekend, 4th grade trip - if he recovers from his current tenacious illness). She would fly, as an unaccompanied minor. But I looked, and it was - sadly - cost-prohibitive for someone on the cusp of losing nearly half of the household income. I didn't tell her.
Sunday night, not talking about any of this, Annabeth was a mess. Moving deftly between whiny and petulant and bossy and sullen, she finally stomped to bed. I went in to say goodnight. Asked her where this had come from, why she was so committed to such meanness.
She said, quite out-of-the-blue, "I don't want you to leave us." And she started sobbing. Softly, bravely, trying-not-to-ly into her pillow.
And I said, quite out of my own control, "how about you come visit? You fly, by yourself, to the beach, and come visit me? And we stay in a hotel? And we see the ocean and visit old friends?"
And she stopped crying. And it seemed well worth the $200+ I just committed to make it stop.