“Are you sure you don’t mind if I stay through the winter? Do you think I can get a winter rate for the next six months if I pay in advance?” I asked my landlord.
“Uh, a winter rate?” he fumbled.
“I talked with Ralph down the road he said he could rent me his cabin for a winter rate if you were a stickler about price.” I not so casually mentioned. One of the perks of being the crazy outsider who has spent the last six months on the Vineyard offers a few perks. I am not a true Vineyard resident, but people take pity on me and help me out. Ralph didn’t offer up his cabin since he will be living in it, but he informed me that one phrase would change my landlord's mind just to save face on the island.
“Oh no no a winter rate sure wouldn't want you to have to move all your stuff. Plus Ralph doesn’t have such a view.”
“Thanks again, I guess I will be seeing you in six months.” I yelled out my door to the landlord after a bit of negotiating price and writing another not so large, but large check.
While I had learn a lot about myself, my grief, and my writing I still wasn’t ready to commit to a place for more than six months. I hold out hope that one day I can think farther than six months in advance, but that time is not now.
My second book still at the editors, I spent a lot of my time running with the dogs, reading on my porch, and listening to islander tell me what to expect from winter on the Vineyard.
When the weather started to get a bit cooler and unpredictable I decided that maybe it was time to take my first steps off the island and head up to Boston to visit with a few friends. I spent the week before my journey with my stomach in knots and picking up the phone to call and cancel and then putting it down again. I needed to try and find my way back into the real world and what a better way than with friends?
It was strange to be somewhere that wasn’t the Vineyard and wasn’t the road. I forgot how busy and overwhelming a city could be, but I also remembered how much I love the pace and vibe of a city. Dinner with friends started off a bit slow with no one really knowing what to say to me. I didn't blame them I had suffered great loss and then fallen off the face of the planet. I felt guilty for being a bad friend who basically walked out of life and them. Thankfully after a few rounds of drinks all that awkwardness and guilt vanished it was just like old times. I even got myself laughing without worrying that I didn’t deserve to laugh.
Month three held the holidays I had been avoiding for quite some time, it wasn’t my first Christmas alone, but it was the first one where I was unable to hide from the decorations, joy, and anticipation for the “big day”. I had come a long way, but seeing the looks of pity from those around me when I said I was going to be alone on that one day was giving me anxiety. Was I really ok? Should I try and take a road trip and just get out of town for the last two weeks of the year?
I convinced myself that I was going to be just fine and like most things that had happened in the last six months segments of my life it would be hard, but I would make it through. I bought the dogs some presents and even wrapped them so there would be something to open. Low and behold I really made it and the next day the publisher called to say they would be sending over the edits by end of the week.
After the dreaded two weeks time started to fly by, I finished editing, I spent more time in the city, and I actually wondered if I could make a new home here on the Vineyard.