I'd spotted a convenience store around the corner during my stomp/cry/blind rage fest, and once it opened, I bought beer. I was determined to sleep. Sleep refused to give me satisfaction. When the bar opened below me, I popped downstairs, demanded vodka and was obliged by an older lady who seemed of surly disposition. I learned during my stay there that she was actually hilarious and delightful.
I spent just about that entire day on a bar stool, meeting most of the employees, some locals, and trying to convince the boyfriend via text messages to find a way to come see me, to no avail. Not even when ...
In the evening, an older guy - who was known by the locals to make a habit of bar-hopping up and down the lane - thought that buying me a drink meant I belonged to him. It was simply mildly irritating at first, but quickly turned unsettling as the drunker he got, the less he was able to understand what a shove and the phrase "stop pawing at me, knucklehead." meant. I was forced to threaten violence. He understood this to mean I wanted his entire body pressed against mine. At this point, the off-duty waiter stood on one side of me while the very scary and large off-duty chef stood on the other, and the small but not-to-be-tangled-with bartendress bounced him, deliciously.
This is when I fell irrevocably in love with that town, as well as my newly-discovered necessity-is-the-mother-of-survival ability to be publicly social and make friends. The people there took me in, and made sure I was safe and rarely alone.
The boyfriend and I had often discussed our age difference and the fact that I had children. He seemed unperturbed by both. He has a personality that seems game for and open to anything, so it was easy to believe.
I warned him repeatedly that while I was lucky to have my father's young-looking face genes, I was still actually 40 years old, with two children - and that neither was I genetically blessed with snap-right-the-fuck-back-like-it-never-happened skin, nor was I a petite girl. He told me repeatedly that I was beautiful.
On my second full day, the boyfriend's father dropped him off at my hotel for a few hours before he had to go to work. He was still reliant upon his family for rides while his car was being repaired, so I was a big fan of his father for bringing him.
Once his car was fixed (on my fourth full day), he managed to visit whenever he wasn't working - but his family was still having paroxysms about him spending the night (although he still remained for a couple of them) because in their logic-soaked wisdom, one can only fornicate after bedtime. I am forced to agree, since everyone I know has their most unseemly and perverted sexual experiences while unconscious and drooling against a pillow, next to someone doing exactly the same.
But we had a lot of good times, just being strange people sharing the same space. We clicked, and he made me feel even more beautiful in person than he had before we met. I felt at ease around him, and I dreaded the end of my visit.
One of my favorite experiences - initially - was visiting his parents property to meet all of his pets. I greeted his three dogs and he and I spent time walking around as they played. I stared at his view of the mountains as he picked raspberries from his yard and handed them to me. I met his fluffy cat, his blond ferret. A low-key, yet beautiful experience. Until ...
The eldest brother walked outside, stared hard at the two of us just standing there together, yet separated by more than mere inches, and shook his head judgmentally before he walked inside the parents house. As I was attempting to take a photo of one of the ugliest toads I'd ever seen, oldest and youngest brother emerged and approached. I put my camera down and waited.
The youngest spoke, in a halting manner, not making eye contact, only gesturing in my general vicinity. I barely heard a full sentence before I realized I was being kicked off the premises. I had a split second where I considered rushing, confronting - but rejected that in favor of restraint. Instead, while the brother was still mid-sentence, I walked - quickly - to the car, flipping the bird while not looking back. You can take the girl out of Jersey ...
This was not the first and certainly not the last lovely moment that family decided to pulverize, without spending a single second getting to know me.