Slightly on a whim, Hubs and I trekked out to the East Coast to attend our niece’s high school graduation ceremony this past weekend. At first we weren’t going to travel out with the rest of the family because it was quite a trek and we weren’t sure if we would have anyone available to watch the kiddos so we didn’t really commit to going until almost the very last second. As such the entire trip was pretty much a whirlwind of driving and trying to coordinate 12 family members into hotel rooms and seating at the venue and meals and pictures and everything else that accompanies a road trip.
All of the hectic coordination details aside… the ceremony itself was really nice. I can’t believe my niece is about to head off to college. I still remember when she was a curious second grader poking her head out of the family minivan to see the weird lady her uncle was dating. Lol. Time flies!!
The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful. We rode along with my mother and step-father in law and took a leisurely pace which was rather nice. Usually when I’m driving I’m a go all out gung-ho fit as many destinations on the map between point a and point b person. Having my FIL’s ailing health to consider made it possible to sit back and actually enjoy the little borough we found ourselves in during our stay.
We stayed in the little town of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania which is just outside of Scranton. It was kind of a sleepy little town nestled in a valley at the very beginning of the Poconos. It reminded me a lot of Nowheresville with just a hint of East Coast flair. I loved the names of some of the local businesses we stumbled across. They were creative and somewhat sassy. My favorites were The Cheesesteak Factory sandwich shop and Shampoodles Salon. Lol.
Our accommodations were fairly decent. We stayed at the Red Roof Inn. The rooms were clean and the location was easy to access, but we didn’t find any of the amenities listed on the website when we arrived and we had some difficulty sorting out our reservations. I’ve stayed in worse places, but it left a lot to be desired. I probably wouldn’t stay there again if I had the option.
It’s strange how simple things can trigger various memories. Walking up the stairs of the hotel made me think back to an afternoon I hadn’t thought about in years. The event itself wasn’t traumatic, and the memory didn’t really stir up any negative emotions. It was just odd to look back on something that didn’t even phase me while I was in the middle of surviving it with a new, healthy perspective on things.
The last time I stayed at a Red Roof Inn I was with my ex. He paid for our room by hours instead of days and we pulled off the road for the specific purpose of hooking up. He wanted sex in the car while we were driving along the interstate, but I refused necessitating our unplanned stop at the first hotel/motel he saw. Once we were safely off the road the rest of encounter wasn’t forced. I was a willing participant, but now it seems odd that I can’t tell you where we were, why we were there, or where we were going. I only remember the argument in the car, checking into the hotel; walking up the stairs to our room. I remember he barely waited until the door closed behind us before tossing me onto the bed and tearing the lace on one of my favorite shirts as he undressed me. I also remember picking up some assorted candies from a big now defunct grocery store after we checked out and continued on toward our destination.
At the time it seemed slightly odd that the employee at the front counter both asked if I was 18 and demanded we leave our ID’s at the front counter while we used the room. He also repeatedly asked if I was okay, and if I needed the police when my ex ran out to the car to get his wallet. It made me uncomfortable, but I did’t quite grasp exactly why. Now? I get it. The behaviors my ex was exhibiting which I perceived as exciting and romantic were actually predatory and abusive. The young man behind the front desk recognized the dysfunction of our relationship, although I’m not really sure how. I often reflect back on a lot of those moments when people tried to help me in the midst of the abuse and wonder if I looked as shell shocked as I essentially was. I don’t know.