We’re actually staying at, for us, an indescribably luxurious resort hotel, in nearby Aventura.
This is our two days of splurging, with considerable help from the travel gift card Eddie won as part of a sales contest. It’s safe to say we’re not generally accustomed to valet parking and marble walkways and hotels with a private beach and a courtyard pool surrounded by waterfalls and its own lazy river.
I admit to a moment of sheer terror as we pulled up to the entrance. The kids were speechless as we walked past gorgeous pools filled with koi and turtles and approached the check-in desk. I turned to Eddie in a panic: “We don’t belong here!”
“Act like you do, that’s the secret,” he whispered back and put his arm around me.
Now that we’re in our room I’m finally calming down. As I write this from the marble desk facing the balcony and the tall palms and glass buildings that lie beyond, I am amazed that I am sipping water from a wine glass filled with ice brought to me by one of the staff who came to the room expressly to fill the ice bucket.
Well, the room! And the bathroom!
Everyone else is already at the pool, and I’m waiting for a technician to fix the mini-fridge, which isn’t working. Well…nothing is perfect!
But it’s more than okay, it’s great. The quiet and I feel the spirit of Ernest Hemingway hovering in the air. I can’t wait to see Miami itself. And somewhere on our drive here this morning I felt myself finally shift into a vacation mode, something I haven’t felt, literally in years.
So it’s two days of this nonsense—doing nothing but what we feel like doing—reading, relaxing, daydreaming.
My friend Jeanne believes in the power of daydreaming, and I finally feel that seeping in.
The truth is, a big part of me doesn’t want to belong here at this resort. I’m not especially good at playing princess. I asked the porter (who is from New York) who delivered our bags to our room to recommend “someplace regular for real people” to grab dinner later. He recommended a highway diner.
“What’s good there?” I asked.
“You know, it’s a diner. They have everything—and everything’s good,” he answered.
Somewhere on the long wide empty road that led here I felt that goodness. The Florida landscape is so flat and the sky is so big and different from what I know and am used to that it left a lot room for my soul to breathe deeply, and I had a little daydream.
Here it is. I was dancing with my nephew Christopher to the song that was playing on the radio. Chris is autistic and doesn’t always speak directly to people, but in my daydream we were dancing and laughing and I said, “I love you, Chris.” And he said, “I love you, too, Aunt Felicia. Look around you, the world is a good place, you know. Everything is good.”
I started out of that happy reverie, and looked around and up, and the world felt like a good place.
Something happens in the places in your heart that are normally consumed by obligation and stress and, yes, often, sadness, when you let you soul breathe and daydream.
I feel that way when I write, too, lifted away from the cares of ordinary existence. Even though writing is exhausting, I always feel serene after coming back to reality.
Coming back to reality just now, I notice that there’s a message on the phone next to me on the desk. So soon after arriving? And when I check the message and find that it’s the concierge, who is asking whether I am satisfied with the ice delivered to the room, I can’t help but burst out laughing.
Just like I have a thing for fountains, I have a thing for ice. I loved lots of ice in cold beverages and even have an admittedly weird preference for certain shapes of ice (and don’t even get me started about the wonders of shaved ice!), but—come on!—ice is ice.
And so, the cold clinking water in my cup is good. The quiet, except for the click created by my fingers on this keyboard is good. That big blue Florida sky is good.
Water. Words. Sky.
That’s not to suggest I am not thrilled to be enjoying a bit of what still feels to me like stolen luxury, but I know who I am and I know how I fit in. Water, words, sky: none of these requires concierge service.
And that is as good as it gets, baby.