Yes yes yes I know I am going to leave, but soup is mostly liquid and caffeine is a diuretic….
Time to leave Santa Nella. I hate the voice inside my head rushing me out. I hear the voices on the road, as well. I have seen women rushing into the bathroom, sometimes, girls in tears, as the men in their lives will be impatiently waiting, doing what they think is the manly thing to do, which is rush everyone ahead, to the destination they need to be at right now.
I stop in the women’s room at Andersens, and it is a very nice restroom. On the walls are plaques of angels and unicorns and affirmations of strength and faith, laughter, and holding family together. Patience. Wisdom. I stop by the alcove where there is a prayer to the Virgin Mary, and an older woman sees me and nods–mistaking my attention for actual faith.
Or was there a mistake? I really love the message. It gives me comfort. Regardless of who the author is, if it is a good message, it is a good message. A meaningful one. For anyone.
I think of back in the days of my childhood, thinking about movies like “Old Yeller” with Fess Parker and Alan Ladd in “Shane.” Movies where patience, quiet, faith, wisdom… These were traits that men shared, as well… That were part of being a man. Even love. Now–it seems that a patient, quiet, wise loving man is an anomaly.
Impatience, loud noises, trusting your gut, acting on instinct, not trusting anyone but yourself–these seem to be what makes a man nowadays… We talk of hypermasculinity–but one cannot hyper everything. In order to hyper some things, others must be discarded. And what is discarded seems to be placed in the women’s room, adding to the burden of everything else that is placed therein.
And if we are putting messages of love and faith and strength and patience and family and humor all behind a door that men will not cross–then what on earth is on the walls of the men’s room? I am not sure if I want to know. Instead, I look here, and the strangely comforting statue of the Virgin Mary Here, amongst the rushing, the comforting, the breathing and washing of hands. The knowing looks. The nods. Here, to hear the little inhalation that a mom takes before leaving to face an impatient dad. The last look at a unicorn, a cross, a “home is where the heart is.” Here, before the picture of footprints walking along the beach, alone, in the sand.