In six days, I walked across Connecticut along Route 1, from New York to Rhode Island. It actually happened. I raised $4,500 and solicited several minutes of tv air time to benefit two charities I adore: The CT RollerGirls, and the New England Ballet Company's adaptive dance program for children with special needs.
I prepared for last week for months: hours of walking to build my physical and mental endurance. I also spent hours plotting my route and drumming up free places to stay each night, and dreaming of six whole days of being responsible for nobody but myself.
I shipped Ryan off to Grandma's house, kissed Stu goodbye, and had a genuine adventure.
And it was bliss.
|Our Lady of Perpetual Good Hair. For more pix, see my Instagram.|
I'm not going to lie: there were plenty of blisters and lots of chafing, and the back of my right knee started swelling the very first afternoon. There were a handful of moments on Days 2 and 3 when I was tempted to get on a train and go home.
But I felt truly free for the first time in years. Six days without cleaning up after anyone else. Six days without translating autistic communication into my own language. Six days without hearing the goddamn alphabet song at all. Six days of being able to hear myself think.
|How does one bathe from a bridge?|
Instead of listening to music or my usual NPR shows, I tuned in to my surroundings. I chose to be constantly aware of the world around me. If I had been wearing headphones, I would never have heard two baby deer meowing (did you know that fawns meow?). I heard meowing, looked across the street, and saw the babies. Their mother stepped out from the bushes, stared at me, and started stamping her hooves in what I suppose was an act of intimidation; I did not feel intimidated. Rather, I felt grateful that I had all the time I wanted to take in this scene.
As I crossed the finish line at the Rhode Island border, I felt satisfied, mentally refreshed, and physically not nearly as exhausted as you might have expected. I could have walked another 10 miles that afternoon.
|These weirdos drove all the way to RI to cheer for me.|
And then I got home.
And I remembered why I had wanted to run away in the first place.
I love Ryan, but I did not miss being a mom last week.
I didn't miss living in the suburbs, four times closer to the nearest cow than the nearest store.
I didn't miss being a grown up.
You know what I missed? My shower. I have a really nice shower.
So now I have to focus on writing this novel about walking away from home so I don't actually do it in real life.