Wonders and woes of Woburn…

The Fells, near Woburn MA

I’ve been dreaming vividly, from waking up with an imagined black cat snuggling on my chest, to being 8 weeks pregnant. I looked up what these things mean on dreammoods.com and found…“To see a cat in your dream symbolizes an independent spirit, feminine sexuality, creativity, and power. To dream that you are pregnant symbolizes some aspect of your personal life that is growing and developing. Being pregnant in your dream may also represent the birth of a new idea, direction, project or goal”

I just left Woburn, MA, a Boston suburb. I stayed with a friend I hadn’t seen since we went to 12 years of school together, starting in kindergarten. Our lives diverged but have  paralleled on similar pathways. She moved to the Northwest from California and now just moved from her beloved home there and is starting a new life in Massachusetts. She warmly invited me into her darling apartment, INSISTED on giving me her bed while she slept on a pad on the floor of the living room. This was our only disagreement in the 8 days I was with her. We enjoyed long walks, a quilt museum and working together in the colorful warehouse of an interior designer.

Lisa is a chef, working in marketing and sales for a gourmet spice company, so I was treated and spoiled with fabulous meals. During her long working hours I explored touristy things, and went up to North Andover High School to participate in the Shakespeare in the schools program I trained for last week (“Meet Kevin”). It was a great chance to see the program in action and meet some more young people excited about Shakespeare.

I also went into downtown Boston and toured the historical sites with a girlfriend that dresses up as Paul Revere’s second wife. She expertly corralled a schooner of 5th graders around telling stories and showing them where the Declaration of Independence was read publicly for the first time and explaining why John Hancock signed his name so largely on that document (because he was wealthy and had status, but also because he was boldly giving the British the bird, daring them to come after him). The part the kids loved best was yelling “Huzzah” and “Fie” at any sentence that remotely called for it. It was fun and she and I had a lovely lunch at a food truck in the park afterward. So good to see a working performer plying her trade in a charming way.

Me and my buddy, Thoreau

I went to Walden Pond, the place where Thoreau spent 2 years living simply in the woods. I was under such a misconception about his time there. I thought he was far, far removed from civilization, roughing it as a hermit. Untrue! In 1845 Thoreau was only a 30 minute walk from his family’s home. He regularly walked to visit friends and entertained visitors in his one room pond-side cabin. He lived simply, not remotely and his desire was to write, not prove he was a super-hero mountain man. It took me awhile to adjust my misconception and I felt cheated by my own ignorance. My admiration was partly based on thinking Thoreau was a genius for shunning society. Knowing he had an escape route took a level of courage away. It’s kind of like driving in the middle of no where and leaving your phone off, you know you can always turn it on if you run into trouble.

Walden Pond

But I still enjoyed the beauty and tranquility of the pond and sat and wrote and looked for peace in my soul. I have been struggling with not knowing what is next. I go in cycles with this, the trusting comes and goes. Leaving Lenox last week and the fabulous time of belonging to a community working together to make young lives better, left me bereft and feeling sad. NOW WHAT? So I used my time well at the pond and like Thoreau, found some solace in the woods.

Minute Man, Concord, MA

Nearing the end of my stay in Boston I found my way to a Starbucks for internet and coffee. As I was writing a man walked in and did a double take. He had striking blue eyes and I flashed my normal smile his way and went back to work. He hung out near the door, then the next thing I knew he came and sat right next to me. He made some comment about my amazing smile and I blurted out that he had great eyes! I felt foolish to flatter a stranger so openly, but it just slipped out! We made small talk, he was there to see his daughters, they showed up and he excused himself to spend time with them.

They all left after 20 minutes and I kept catching up on email, when Mr. Stranger returned and sat next to me for more conversation. He asked what I was doing later as he would clear his schedule if I was free, but I had plans to take Lisa out for her birthday. I was flattered to be so pursued, until I noticed the wedding ring on his left hand. I laughed at that point, and said, “are you married?” I should have been offended, but the ridiculousness of it all just hit me. He said something like “well, it’s complicated.” Did I just walk into a movie set? It’s complicated? I said “either you’re married or you are not, it’s a simple yes/no question.”

Then came the story…he was separated, though living in the same house as his wife and kids (a different, younger set of kids, than the ones I saw). He asked me to lunch the next day and I said yes, knowing that I should run as fast as I could in the other direction. So two times in less than an hour, I went against my instincts. Why did I say yes!? I only knew his first name, so I couldn’t even change my mind later and call him. I’d just have to be a no-show. But I’m not that kind of gal so I met him the next day and we had a nice lunch and flirtation, but soon I discovered that he is not what I term “separated” at all, just estranged from his wife. I can understand why! Any man who will pursue another woman under the guise of being separated is bound to be trouble. I clearly told him that he needs to figure his life out, that he owes it to his family and we parted amicably.

Downtown Boston

Off I went, 45 minutes away to North Andover High School, proud that I had finally done what my conscience guided, and hopefully had spurred him on to healing his marriage. I got out early from rehearsal and couldn’t decide what to do with my evening. Should I get a pedicure, grocery shop or go straight home? At the last minute I decided to go and get a pedicure. I pulled up and parked near where I thought there was a nail salon, got out and walked by the Starbucks where I had met Mr. Stranger the day before and there he was right in the window! I thought I was completely done with this, we had no contact info for one another or even last names. I was being good, had pushed aside any feelings and there he was dumped in my path again and in a large city like Boston, what are the chances? I went in, rather dumbfounded at the chance encounter and we chatted some more, and drank coffee while fireworks went off inside me. Damn, that chemistry stuff, it is inconvenient to say the least! He was VERY attentive and great at saying all that a girl loves to hear.

I have a strict NO MARRIED MEN philosophy, and it was sorely tested that day. It was so nice to be looked at with glowing admiration and be told wonderful things and be called beautiful from the inside out. But I said good-bye. Now I’m nursing sadness from such wild chemical reactions popping in my body, missing the attention and judging myself as twisted for even flirting with the possibility. Sigh, it stinks, but better that than remorse and guilt for actually giving in to his charms.

Rockport, MA

Life certainly is an adventure. If the cat and pregnancy dreams represented my independent, feminine sexuality, it was sorely tempted this week. I grew and developed, and I hope new goals and direction follow. I’m going to start counting bouncing pregnant cats instead of sheep as I fall asleep.

Foot note update: For those of you that sent healing wishes for my ankle, it is much better and I am walking fine, but still unable to run. Thank you for your well wishes.


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