After two weeks of being back at school, I was chomping at the bit to go to Disney. I was doing well for a while, seeing my grad buddies again and plotting with them to sneak off during the day to a certain delicious French cafe. I greedily ate up the first two books of The Mysterious Benedict Society and found a new character to gush annoyingly about (Milligan, you're the man!).
Milligan, the man. You have no idea.
But even in spite of this, a familiar weariness set into my bones as I stayed awake for the fourth night in a row working on PowerPoints and lesson plans for my pupils. It's a tired ache that's stronger than any you'd feel on the fifth week of slaving over a research paper - trust me. It makes you long for some kind of escape; usually a quick trip into my head rectifies the situation, but when you're going to school to put your creative thoughts on paper, the imagination does not have the same magic it always used to. So real life has to come to the rescue.
Real life is Disney (Oh, haha. That's good).
Disney's Boardwalk was the exact place I had in mind ease my agitated spirits. A wild wind travels off the water that whips your hair until you run inside the stores, only to find yourself looking like a Wishnik troll. An abandoned night club that advertises dueling pianos looks rather lonely, but there's always a family kicking along by in a four-passenger Surrey bike. There's a tiny pearl shack, a lighthouse, and oh! Did I mention the shops? Only briefly. While you're furiously combing your hair back down, you might find some treasures not yet sent to the Disney Parks. This happened to me once in a glorious way. I found a t-shirt with Prince Phillip on it, and he had his arms crossed and looking proud. The shirt said, "Sorry ladies, I'm taken." How cool is that? I would have bought it immediately, except that I'm a girl (haha). The decorations in the shops are intricate and lovely. The last time I went, I noticed a painting or a carousel (and a literal carousel horse in one of the front windows) and a vintage illustration of hot air balloons. Wow.
The family and I spent most of the day exploring the hotels littered around the Boardwalk. One of my favorite things to do is wander around Disney hotels and just hang out there, sitting on the comfy couches or exploring the little shops and eateries inside. And if there's a theme to the hotel - ohmygosh. Then that's even better. I won't go into the specifics in this post, but the range of decorations spanned from vintage nautical to high-end Las Vegas style. We explored four of the hotels and waddled back on sore feet to the bakery for a bite and a good sit-down. I carried a giant (really) strawberry cupcake out to red high top table overlooking the water.
As we ate our respected desserts, I looked around me and enjoyed being still. The wind played with my bangs and threatened to make me swallow my own hair as the strands got caught in fluffy icing and red sprinkles. We were right by the ESPN Zone, complete with an ever-present line of men waiting to go inside; they clapped and cheered and stood on their toes as if celebrities were only just waiting for them inside the door. A woman sat at a table nearby (probably the wife of one of these men) with a stack of magazines and a novel. She glared at the seagull that continued to insist on occupying the table space. I grinned at the bird but forgot to offer him something.
The birds started to gather. Sparrows danced below our feet like tiny dancers on stage. Seagulls clung to the railing and surveyed the scene with proud eyes. One seagull had a feather stuck to his beak. He lowly approached our table and just stared up at me. Not begging, really, but trying to threaten me. But by then the cupcake was gone. Normally considerate of such things, I didn't drop any crumbs for the sparrows or seagulls. My parents were thankful about this, but they still teased me later on. "Yeah, why didn't you?" My mom said. "Didn't we teach you any manners?" I merely grumbled and tickled her sides. Revenge. Haha.
I breathed deeply, closed my eyes. I couldn't feel that ache anymore. It was as if someone stripped that heaviness off my bones so that I could float freely into the sky. I felt so happy. I wanted to sit at that table for another few hours. Maybe buy another cupcake but share all of it. I wanted to stay as far away from the computer and PowerPoint as I could.
But we all must return eventually. And I had to admit, as we got in the car to drive home, that I did feel refreshed enough to try again.