At this very moment, I am writing to you from a hotel lobby in a place Far, Far Away (actually about two hours drive from home, but anywhere I am unable to hear my kids calling to me is Far, Far Away indeed).
I have had the privilege of being granted a leave pass from my duties as Wife and Mother for a weekend. An opportunity to be without children, laundry, lunchboxes, and the lascivious looks of my husband (which are frequently welcome, but right now I'm hellishly tired and seriously just want to sleep).
I've fantasized about my night away for week. Imagined myself sleeping all afternoon, having a massage, browsing through shops, finishing my book, and - most importantly - eating a burger and chips on my bed at night whilst watching stupid TV (which has always been my definition of Nirvana).
I have never been away for a night alone before, other than for work. I have never known the joy of having absolutely nothing to do but indulge myself and myself alone, without thought of the comfort of others. And I was mildly apprehensive. What if I didn't like being alone? What if I pined for company? What if I got bored? And - most terrifying of all - what if the hotel didn't serve burgers and chips?
Well, so far none of my fears have been realised, though there have been some minor hiccups. For a start, I arrived at the hotel and misunderstood the parking instructions. I ended up parking at the bottom of a steep hill and trudging up with my bag to find the carpark at the top of the mountain directly in front of the hotel lobby. But hey, I could use a bit of exercise, particularly considering I planned to consume my body weight in cow and potato that evening.
Once in my room I fell on the bed and had a lovely, twenty-minute nap (using 'twenty' in the sense of 'one hundred and fifty' and 'lovely' in the sense of 'semi-comatose').
Drowsy and disoriented, I then donned my hotel robes and slippers, and stumbled out of my room for my massage. Unfortunately, I got lost somewhere in the hotel, and ended up wandering dazed and confused through the hotel, naked under my terry toweling dressing gown. This was fine when I ended up in the pool area, but rather awkward when I had to seek advice from the bartender in the lobby, who happened to be serving several patrons dressed far more appropriately than I for the cocktail hour.
The massage was lovely, marred only by my growling stomach in the last fifteen minutes. I bolted back up to my room (waving to the barman as I passed), checked out the Room Service menu, and gave silent (okay, loud) thanks when I located the Angus Beef Burger and Fries. I ordered my meal, and lay back on the pillows, envisaging myself working my way through my food at leisure, nibbling on my fries, taking delicate bites of my burger, sipping my iced water and dabbing my mouth with a linen napkin, all the whilst giggling through a movie with Cameron Diaz.
Alas, it was not to be. The food arrived and my overwhelming hunger got the better of me. I inhaled my massive burger and the huge pile of chips in about two minutes flat. Truly. I opened my mouth, crammed the monstrous thing in, and kept shovelling the remaining chips until all that remained was a miniscule puddle of sauce and half a sprig of parsley. I didn't even use the cutlery.
Deeply ashamed, I decided I'd do better next time. Room Service meals are to savour, not gobble. What's more, now I know where the parking is, so I really should give that another go, too.
So I rang up Reception, bargained a cheap deal, and called my husband to tell him the good news.
"I need another burger and I want to go to the bar in my clothes. If it's okay, sweetie, I'm staying another night."
Of course, I have no idea what mishaps will occur today. It is very possible I will never leave here at all.