Like Countess Olenska in The Age of Innocence the man I loved married another and I could not show the world my heartbreak. Condolences towards my grief were not to be offered or appropriate to accept. I had to watch and celebrate as the bride and groom danced under a perfect night sky: smiling at their wedding knowing that their happiness could only be achieved through my hurt.
Surviving that night with put-on joy depleted my soul and I needed a place to mend. Someplace special, private and pretty to retreat and refill my will to live passionately – I found it at The Charles Street Inn.
When I stepped into the Edith Wharton room, tired from sadness, the irony of the theme made me gasp but I stood strong in the entrance way and passed the first test that let me know my healing had begun.
The Inn saved me, it was the warm private hug I needed. I spent my time there cuddling with the pillows in the large soft bed as the shadows of fireplace flames entertained me with their dance. I soaked for hours in the warm bath adding soap for bubbles and being soothed at the idea of bath jets muting the sound of my crying. I felt the morning sun from the bay window and watched as the changing light through the day altered the shade of yellow that covered the walls. It was a perfect room, a feminine cocoon in which to heal.
The staff smiled whenever they saw me and if they detected my sadness they left me alone to feel it only occasionally checking in gently while delivering pots of hot tea with scones and jam.
Years have passed since I was at the Inn and in such sadness. Looking back, I smile because I now have the perspective of time that makes such memories refreshingly ridiculous. Healing did take longer then a weekend but I know my time on Charles Street was my first step on the path to my ability to smile today.
I am grateful to the Inn and congratulate it on ten years of service to its guests. The Charles Street Inn is a beautiful place that gave me the room to heal in, and the next time I visit I will experience it through happy eyes.
This essay was the 2nd Place Winner in the Charles Street Inn Celebrating Our Tenth Anniversary Contest.