I wonder about getting old.  I want to have my mind and body about.  During this time (I tell myself) I will be able to focus on slowing my pace perhaps.  I will have more time for books, my writing, my garden, photography, learning languages and travel.  The children will be grown and gone. I find myself thinking about age when I never use to.  This occurs when I find a stray grey hair mixed in my red.  I see the wrinkles around my eyes. I wonder how they got there.

I know what I don’t want to be.  I don’t want to grow moldy and cancerous.  I don’t want to get sick or to be bed ridden. I don’t want my home to smell of medicines or urine.  I believe I have a say in all that.  If the Divine has other plans I can fight those pre-written scrolls like a Hemingway.  I don’t care what those men wrote or if the translations were accurate in that Holy book.  I can shake my fist at any sky and curse any sickly fate.  I have this faith that the Divine will forgive me of my pride and moxie.  Maybe I am too vain and conceited.  But somewhere I have this sense that the Divine will not be able to help itself because it knows my heart and my thoughts. 

I am too adorable for it not too.

I don’t want to become sour or smell like cigarettes mixed with baby powder.  I don’t want any rotten teeth or for my cuticles to grow over my fingernails.

When I get feeble I will want to revisit days that I have experienced in my mind.  I want to focus on the great days.  I will be a Walter Mitty in my own secret right.  I will re-call the day of the dolphins.

I am on a teeter totter of being financially broke.  My parents gave us a week in Florida at spring break.  My girls are so excited.  I am sitting at my desk rubbing my eyes.  Stacks of bills are surrounding me.  It is so damn bleak and cold outside.  This Michigan grey sucks me until I just want to curl up and go to sleep.  I need new brakes on my car.  I am formulating a budget to drive us down.  Food, gas, activities.  I know I am so fucked over if the car doesn’t make it down.  Worry grows like the vines that cover my back porch in summer time.  The girls incessantly talk of swimming with the dolphins.  I know it is a near impossibility.  The cost of this activity borders on the insane.  I keep our options open.  I don’t want to disappoint them.  It is so hard for me to say no.  I know enough not to promise.  If it is meant to happen it will.  I give them my best, “We will see.”

We have room in my car for one more.  I believe it a waste not to allow others that can fit in our little car to cop a ride.  The girls fight for each of their friends.  I let Katie, my oldest, invite a friend.  My decision is based on logic.  To the two younger ones it is arbitrary and unfair. 

They soon get over it and start packing their bags.  I put a padlock on my money worries. 
We leave late after my work day on Friday.  In this 24 hour drive I get us to Kentucky and I need to pull over to sleep at a gas station.  Chubi, the friend, is perplexed.  Why aren’t we getting a hotel? 

My simple response: “That isn’t how we rock and roll.  We unload when we get there.”  I do not mention the real reason: this luxury is a waste of activity money.

The cramped space and hours in the car make us irritable and cranky.  I am downing 5 hour energy like vodka shots.  My tiredness evaporates when we hit the Sunshine state.  Warm weather, blue sky and sun is my second wind.  Their moods burst. Everyone seems to forget about the long hours and our unwashed bodies.  The colors are bright blues, linen whites, yellows and oranges.  Palms and wet land grasses.  We are looking for alligators and all the windows are down.  I love the wind on my face and hair. 

We forget we are tired and smell bad.

The timeshare stay is routine.  We have done this our entire lives.  We check in, unpack, and I am always off to the grocery store.  I let them stay and swim.  There are other children and good looking teenaged boys.  They scatter.  I take a dreaded trip to the grocery store.  Another three hours of work for me.  I love them so I don’t care. 

These days lounging at the pool spoil me.  During the late evening the parents all get in the community hot tub.  They all introduce themselves.  All are couples.  We define ourselves by where we come from and what we do:  Canada, Wisconsin, New York; Housewife, Doctor, Teacher, Mechanic.  Topics of conversation that are safe prevail. Where to go, what to see, what restaurants to frequent, and the sharing of any really good vacation deals.  I can do this banter and talk for a day or too and then I am spent.  It’s trivial and I am not really good at it for very long. 

Two days of nothing and my restlessness prevails.  I cook, make them snacks, we do day trips and my girls love to shop.  I love Key West and want some adventure.  I propose a drive to the Keys.

They grunt and groan.  It’s another five hours one way in the car.  We leave early at 4:00 a.m. and my closing argument is if they sleep they won’t know they are in the car.

The drive on the interstate is a stretch of an amazing green and blue.  We stop at the dolphin aquarium.  No openings for a swim (and if there was I couldn’t afford it).  I feel their disappointment.  I mentally exchange thoughts with a natural unknown.  It borders on self-pity, anger, and a whine.  “Really, you need to help me out here.”  My logic is based on my good heart and all this shit I have had to dig though.  Throw me a bone.  I am sick of all of this life’s problematic shit.

The girls are too good for this.  O.K. Divine I am right down here and it would be nice if you would just really listen to me. 
I imagine for a minute—-for your aches and worries you spoiled little brat—-and like a parent giving a wailing toddler a toy.

It comes in the form of a beautiful bikini clad blonde. 

She is holding a road side, card board, sign: Ski Doos.   

We are just past Marathon Key.  I hit the brake and veer off.  I am facing a plywood, road side, biker bar.  My questions are numerous.  How much? How does this work? Where are we allowed to go? 

I book two wave runners and we are off to subway to eat a $5.00 lunch.  The kids moods are more up beat.  I am looking forward to this open sea.  We have one rented hour.  We have never driven or ridden such a machine.

The three teenaged girls are on their own ski.  I am paired with my youngest.  We hop on and slowly pull past the dock and an island of southern key grass and shrubs.  Just waiting on the skirts of the open ocean are a team of dolphins.  They head at us and are within inches of our reach. They bob and squirt.  They duck in and out.  There is a baby.  It is a afternoon of ocean play with these wild creatures.  We are under that mile high bridge.  The colors are aqua blue.  This color is so bright I am convinced it can’t be real.  The ocean water covers us until we are sticky with salt.  The air is so warm.  Our freckles pop and three of us look like we are blotched with splattered paint.  Their screams of delight, the roar of the jet skis, the dolphin play, the air, the warm water, and that Florida sun bathe and tan the other two.  We are snaking in and out from under that movie making bridge.  We have that high speed adrenalin rush.  My hair is wet and wild. 
I feel more than free.

Our hour is up.  The girls conspire.  Chubi says she’ll gladly pay.  I fear they are booked.  What continued luck.  Cash changes hands.  We hit the sea and that salt.  The dolphins are there waiting for our continued race and play. 

It’s like they knew we were coming right back.

This feeling.  This day.  This two hour slice of sunshine. It’s after our night time excursion into Sloppy Joe’s.  It’s after we view men dressed like women, the 90 mile Cuba marker and that Hemingway house.  It’s not until the girls are fed, tired and sun worn until they pile into the back seat creating a mixture of arms and legs all folded together.  I don’t know where one child starts and the other one ends. 

The road back goes dark on our trip east and north.  I am left with my random thoughts.  I am amazed how this night black hides the day of whites, greens, greys, and aqua blues.

It wasn’t until our drive back that I could melt, digest, contemplate and realize. This string, this cosmic being, this existence is no coincidence. 

Today it heard me. 

Giving us two perfect hours on it’s sea.