It's kind of peculiar to welcome back pain, a tricky knee, and gray hair back like they're old friends, and I suppose that is possible that in a few weeks I week be waxing nostalgic for those months when I was a young black woman, even if only one one of those things actually made things any easier. Still, despite how strange it is to feel a rush of gratitude at seeing familiar sights and acquaintances after a year when they feel like it has been only two weeks or so, it is welcome.
I miss Elaine a bit, even if I was not completely free of her when I left Chicago, still having her face and figure. I asked if maybe she would like to fly out to Maine with me, but she said no; she wants to have a few days on her own, and then her sister was going to meet her, and they would spend a few days driving from Chicago to Old Orchard, doing a sort of an imitation of a regular family vacation. I understand, a bit; it's been a long time since I went in that sort of trip with my mother and father, but even though she and I never built a sort of mother-daughter thing, I do sort of feel like she is my sister, and I hope she feels the same way about me. Doesn't even have to think of me as her brother, I'll be her sister even if I'm an old man to her.
I still don't much like flying, although the experience is somewhat less stressful when you don't think the security people are going to see through how your face matches your driver's license and consider you an impostor. I'm glad there are direct flights to Portland - smaller planes than the ones through Boston or New York (or Atlanta, as one ridiculous flight on the website Elaine visited would have had me using), so probably a bit more nerve-wracking, but there's something to be said for only going through it once.
Getting to the Inn was uneventful - I take the train, stop in at the place down the street where you check in and return your keys, and then just go. The friendly lady at the first place nervously tries to make conversation about how prompt people are in checking in early in the season compared to late summer, but, despite the grumbling about how rude Millennials are when I just nod, take them, and leave, seems relieved by my not sticking around to chat. About my real age, she's not exactly used to dealing with black people, I imagine, though it's different than the worst of what I encountered in Chicago, more about how we don't get that much variety in Maine and don't know how to react to it.
The Inn's not bad, considering; I've stayed in worse places as a younger man. There isn't any luggage for me, since my place is close enough for this to qualify as a "stay-cation", but there is a shipping bag with some new clothes, including an unopened packet of undergarments, just in case I would feel strange about wearing things the other Cary had. The letter in the bag isn't handwritten, and is in fact rather businesslike, telling me how things went with the truck, what sort of work he did over the winter to make up for it not being a great time and place for a food truck without a brick-and-mortar storefront to find spaces, how rent was paid through the end of May, that sort of thing. It's courteous, and doesn't ever say that being me was a hardship.
I spend a few days as "Carrie" again, running the truck until we change back early on the 2nd. I suppose I should be thankful for a little extra stamina on Memorial Day, but it's a bit of a nerve-wracking couple of weeks. One thing that really gets me is being naked under the covers - I never did that in the rest of my time as Elaine - it doesn't feel proper with someone who looks like a little girl just on the other side of the room even if I were to do it normally - but I don't know just how I'll turn out. Did the other guy gain some weight, so Elaine's bedclothes would strangle me? It's not quite warm enough for it, really, and I get worried that someone will just burst into the room, but it doesn't happen.
I wind up myself again, though, and waste no time getting out of the place. As much as I'm sure the experience was good for me, I don't think I intend to ever park my truck near there again.
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