There are times when being on my own is more challenging than at other times. These past two weeks have been one of those times when I was longing for a partner to hold me and tell me that everything was going to be okay. It is my busy time at work and my daughter has been working through her end of semester stress. In addition to that, my car was severely vandalized while in a parking lot near work. I came out to my car one night, late into the evening to discover that someone had stomped on the hood of my car and slammed something large, heavy and round into the windshield of my car. My windshield was shattered and based on the damage and the way that the damage happened, it was clear that it was pure vandalism and less likely to be about trying to break into my car.
I went into survival and adrenaline mode, focussing on getting home and contacting my insurance company. I excel at being able to compartmentalize in order to manage my life and I excelled that night, getting myself home, filing a claim with my insurance company, and an online police report. An appointment with an auto repair shop was booked, as was a rental car and I had a plan to have everything ready to go first thing in the morning so that I could get to work on time for an all-staff meeting. I reached out and told my closest friends and my family and got some support. It all felt very under control.
It had been close to 8:30 by the time I got home and by the time I did all the business to take care of my car, it was well after 10 pm. I climbed into bed and then I began to feel the impact of what had happened. I had a flash remembering that I had in fact encountered someone at the top of the stairs of the car park coming out from the level where there was only my car. Quite likely, it was the individual who had vandalized my car. I felt the waves of vulnerability wash over me. I felt vulnerable, exposed, and alone. My friends and family had been wonderfully supportive, but as I was laying in bed alone, I wanted to be held by someone. I wanted to be held by my ex. It was a hard night.
One of the things that I have enjoyed about dating myself is planning my dates in advance for the most part. What was lovely this past weekend, is that I had booked a hotel room for the Friday evening and something else for Saturday night (but that is a topic for another post!). I found a deal for a hotel room that included the room, plus a $35 credit towards food, or spa time, plus a bottle of wine. I planned to leave directly from work on the Friday to help it feel like a weekend get-away even though the hotel was at the west end of Ottawa. My suitcase was packed and in the trunk of my car and away I went.
I checked into the hotel and was pleased with the upscale feel of the hotel. I was exhausted from the events of my week, so I quickly got through my check in and headed up to my hotel room. The hotel boasts a spa on site, as well as a golf course and several lovely restaurants and caters to the business traveller who wants to combine business and leisure together. Entering my room, the scent of that fresh lemon clean smell pleasantly reached my nose, and I felt a deep sigh in my chest knowing that I would have an evening all to myself without anyone knocking on my door or asking me for anything.
The room had a massive king size bed with four large pillows of varying degrees of firmness. The huge windows ran the length of the width of the room and were the full range of the floor to the ceiling. Looking out the window, I could see the office buildings beside us, but also had a beautiful view of the out of season pool, still covered for the winter and the tender greens of the golf course, muddy with the green of the snow freshly melted. Later in the evening as the sun was setting, it was a relaxing view to watch from the comfort of my bed.
I treated myself to room service for two reasons. I remain a little hesitant about eating in restaurants with the high rates of COVID in our community. The bigger reason was that I honestly just wanted to have some quiet time on my own and be with my own company and not have the distraction of others eating around me. My entree was a veal and bison Bolognese ragout on top of fresh pasta sitting on a creamy grana Padano sauce. It was divine! Because this was date night, I splurged on desert with decadent strawberry chocolate truffles. The truffles arrived on a chocolate mouse, dollops of strawberry coulis and crumbled fragments of honeycomb. It was a silky sensuous bite with every taste, the crunch of the truffle outer crust tickling my senses and allowing me to savour every bite. I deliberately took my time with both of my entree, pausing between bites to allow the flavours of my meal to touch each of the taste buds. I savoured and I paused. I felt truly spoiled.
At the end of my meal, I placed my tray outside my door for someone to pick up and carried on to the second part of my indulgence for myself. I unpacked the tealight candles from my suitcase and set them up along the edge of bathroom counter beside the bathtub and lit each one. I poured myself a glass of sparkling non-alcoholic grape juice in a full wine glass and let the bath fill with hot water. Just before stepping into the hot bath, I turned the lights off in the bathroom and let the candlelight be the only illumination in the room. I put some relaxing piano music on my phone and allowed the music to wash over me as I stepped into the hot water. I sank into the warmth of the water and closed my eyes to let the relaxation settle in.
By the time I was ready to head to bed, I was feeling relaxed, and the tensions of the week were melting away. I crawled into the massive bed and tucked the pillows around me so that I felt cuddled by them and gradually drifted off to sleep. In the morning I had a relaxed morning with coffee in bed and some overnight oats that I had packed to bring with me.
I checked out of the hotel and wanted to continue my date with myself, so I drove to a park along the Ottawa River and parked my car. It was warmer than I thought it was going to be, so I tied my jacket around my waist and headed out for a walk along the pathway. It felt so good to be outside with the cool fresh spring air brushing against my skin. I kept a leisurely pace, enjoying the emerging green grass starting to come to life after the snow had melted away. I appreciate the changing of the seasons and how different the same space looks in the different seasons. On this spring day there remains remnants of ice and snow on the river and along the creeks leading away from the river. I can see the tiniest of buds beginning on some of the trees, the slightest of green poking out from the brown tips of trees. After walking for some time, I came across a tree that captured my attention.
Throughout the park area, most of the trees were growing with straight trunks and branches reaching out fairly uniformly. Then there was this tree that had half of its body growing bent over and almost at right angle to the trunk. What event created this growth? This tree clearly continued to thrive after this event. I walked over closer to the tree and spent some time touching its rough, uneven bark, taking several moments to pause and breathe in time with the slight breeze that was passing through this part of the park. As I moved around the tree, I noticed that the tree trunk had actually split in two and from this new angle it appeared as if two trees either grew together and then split apart, or one tree began to divide itself. I reflected on the book that I had read last month, “The Mother Tree” and wondered what story this tree was sharing with its environment around it. And then as I looked up in this space between the two trunks, it appeared to me as if the branches coming above took on the shape of a heart between the trunks and branches of the tree. It felt like a gentle message to me from nature that love was here, was with me even as my tender heart was continuing to heal.
From here, I headed back to my car and decided to treat myself with a pastry and a fancy cup of tea. I drove into Britannia Village and treated myself to an almond croissant from the bakeshop and a London Fog latte from the coffee shop across the street and headed for home. As I arrived home, I settled myself onto my couch and curled up under the quilt sewn by a distant cousin, made up of patches designed by extended family members at a family reunion over twenty years ago. Much like my dinner the night before, I savoured each bit of the flaky, buttery and sweet-filled croissant. I lingered and savoured every bite, and every sip of my latte.
As the date completed, I reflected on where I started this weekend, or rather how my week had ended. I had been longing for a partner to provide me with some extra TLC and found that – not really surprisingly – I was able to nurture myself and give myself a sense of comfort and, well, loving care. It did help take the edge off the stress that I had been feeling throughout the week.
Cost of the date – hotel booking + dinner (above the $35 credit) – $243.09; walk in the park – free; London Fog Latte and almond croissant – $9.67
I rated my date an 8/10