The last time I was in Provincetown for a summer vacation was 20 years ago. I was 1 month sober. My next two trips were Ireland and Russia. I figured why not get all the drinking capitals out of the way right up front. In a few days I will be going back to P-Town again 20 years and one week sober later. I do not see a return trip to Ireland or Russia anytime soon!
I have had some glorious vacations in the past 20 years, one being my honeymoon. What strikes me now pondering a return to The Cape, is how many vacations I probably, no DID, ruin for others. My husband in particular. Romantic walks on the beach? Nope, too far from the booze. Romantic stargazing from an incredible roof deck? Nope too drunk to focus. Romantic romp, well you get the picture.
So 20 years ago there I was in P-Town in the height of the season. A place that can make a person feel “less than” even on their best days, feeling like I had a finger stuck in an electrical outlet, my mind going 90 different directions all at once. To be honest I don’t actually remember much of that vacation. It is blur, not a hold one hand over your right eye to focus blurry, thank goodness. More like an emotional and informational overload of sorts.
What I do remember clear and vivid as day is sand ripples. We were walking at low tide out towards the lighthouse that stands on the very tip of P-Town. I remember looking down and be taken in by the sand ripples. You know the kind made by the tide going in and out rather than by the wind. There I was standing in a sea of sand ripples. All I had to do was walk left or right, forward or back. I was not there to kill time till the next drink. How many experiences had I already missed because they were just place holders till the next drink? I don’t think I had ever fully been in a moment UNTIL that exact moment. I looked down at my feet and the little whirls of incoming tide filling in among the sand ripples. We walked to the lighthouse and sat on the beach looking out on life from the very tip of Cape Cod. I don’t remember how we got back. I do remember it was the first and best vacation day of my life.