Monday, October 22, 2012

Introspective Getaway

And so I'm back. I've been back for quite some time but just haven't been able to write much. Vacation was very relaxing and peaceful. Although some days were cold and windy, we managed to seek out some great restaurants on the sea and enjoy the views, as well as the fresh seafood. Every time I visit Provincetown, I think of my dad. He was a fisherman and spent years at his fish market over at the South Street Seaport. He taught me everything about seafood - how to filet it, shuck it, clean it, cook it - you name it. Each year I would come home with a sea-related trinket or souvenir of sorts. He loved it. This year was bittersweet, because we went to Provincetown to rest our minds and get ourselves in a different atmosphere. We wanted it to be a time to heal in a different location, and being by the ocean always sets my mood in a calm state of mind, but somehow it rattled my heartstrings a bit with all the strange reminders. While I was in a touristy t-shirt/novelty shop, I went to grab a lobster claw lighter...for dad. For a split second, I truly thought he was still here. It was so fast, so quick, and the repercussion of the disappointment lasted way too long. I begged my mom to come along with us. We had two bedrooms and it would have been great for her to get away - to get a change of scenery, but she said she just wasn't ready. I begged her until the last hour of packing our car. I really wanted her with me. She and my dad always said they would come with me one day to Provincetown, but never made it happen. The ride was a bit too much for them. Even our trips to the Hamptons were too long. They eventually stopped coming along with us. She would have loved all the seafood and comedy shows. I wonder if it would have made her forget a little, or if it would have reminded her too much...?

While sitting in our living room having coffee getting ready for the day, Madelene picks up a flyer in a magazine and says, "Hey look! Wasn't your dad good friends with this girl's father? Didn't your dad say that he was related to you through your mom's side somehow?" I had no clue what she was talking about, until I walked over and saw that Rita Gigante was in town doing a book signing for her new release, The Godfather's Daughter. How can this be? Why is she 'here'? I read a bit more about her online and found out she was with her lesbian partner. I immediately emailed her and got a quick response asking to meet her over at the bookstore so we could talk more. The stories we shared, some of the names in the family were actually the same and most of all, we shared a huge link: we went through similar things at the age of sixteen. (My story is here.) Vincent Gigante passed away in 2005. My mother recalls Vincent "The Chin" visiting the family in upstate New York years ago. Did he and my father set this up? Why are all of us in the same town at the same time? We both live near one another, yet we're almost 7 hours away finally meeting?!?! We both agreed that the parallels of our lives were just too obvious. I told her how fondly my dad spoke of her father and how my dad recently passed away as well. I'm still reading her book, and at times, I find myself in the same situations and relating to much of it while taking breaks in between to rest my emotions. The book is well written and so fascinating, but because of my own experiences, it is very hard for 'me' to read. It brings up many reminders. In my mind, she was another "me", who went through similar things. She was gay, she was the youngest daughter and felt like the only child -- same here. She lived in dark rooms so the FBI wouldn't "peek in". We were told to stay off the phones because they were tapped. So many parallels. I've witnessed horrible fights and brawls in my own house over "business deals gone bad". Although my dad was on the lighter scale of racketeering, it was still traumatic for me to witness all that I did. Check out her book. I even told her I was half way through writing my own story to which my dad provided all the information behind my personal experiences that I had gone through, but it was too heart wrenching to actually finish it. Maybe one day I'll get the courage. So I give Rita credit for finishing this book and doing so well with it. It was also nice to meet new friends with so much in common.

I had so many questions about my trip there. "Can dad see me?" "Is here here?" "Is he okay?" -- While walking down Commercial Street, I stumbled upon one of those eccentric homemade jewelry, incense and oil shops that had a huge purple sign that read, "PSYCHIC READINGS". Against all my beliefs, I went in. A nice man named Moses greeted me. His hair was bigger than Bob Ross' and he wore this crisp white shirt that buttoned down to the middle of his chest. He looked straight out from the 60's hippy days. He was soft spoken and spoke eloquently. He brought me back to his reading room and sorted through a huge deck of Tarot cards along with a mix of regular playing cards. I didn't say one word to him about myself or why I was there. He clutched a bunch of cards, then looked at me. "I'm so sorry. You lost your father, didn't you?" I stared at him for a moment and took a deep breath. He went on to say, "He's here with you now, as you wanted him to be. He traveled here with you." Trying to hold back my tears, I let him continue with my reading. He even pointed out how many hospital visits I had this year. "Why are there so many trips to the hospital and yet you're so healthy?" I chuckled because it's becoming quite the joke around here. It was as if one of my family members called him before I walked into his store. It was the most amazing reading I ever had. But, it confirmed every question I possibly had. And most of all, it confirmed that dad was okay and visited PTown with me....finally.

Such a beautiful getaway; peaceful & much needed.
I know that most 'back from vacation' posts are supposed to be filled with, 'we did this' & ' we did that' type of blabber, and of course there are many wonderful photos to back it up, but what those photos don't tell you are all the emotional rides I went on during that trip. Yes, I needed to get away, but I felt such extreme guilt for leaving my mother, for leaving my family and for even having a good time, or "supposed" to be having a good time. All I can say is, my vacation was quiet. It was peaceful. Madelene and I connected so much during this time. There wasn't much "partying" and celebrating. There was reflection while staring out into the harbor. There were walks down the piers trying to find the boat my father loved so much that had his name on it incidentally. There was a time I was eating clam bellies at my favorite restaurant when I had to run into the bathroom to just let out a few tears because the bartender said to us, "Clam bellies are hard to find in New York because they have to be fresh and served within two days and never frozen."  Dad used to tell me that all the time. So while it was healthy for us to get away, I also purged a lot in the process, which is also good for the soul. I'm glad I went though. We definitely needed a 'time out', see our old friends and sit by the water drinking our favorite wine and reminiscing about many things, including our beautiful wedding we had there back in 2008. It was a good trip overall. 

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3 comments:

The Elephant's Child said...

The right holiday for the right time. Purging and peace seeem often to go hand in hand.
Hugs for you now, and for the sixteen year old you as well.

Shadow said...

looks like a lovely place, with even better memories... welcome home!

Deb said...

Thank you, TEC... :)

Shadow, it's a gorgeous peaceful little town with so many things to do. This year, we did nothing. Just rested and enjoyed the views. Thanks for the big welcome. :)