It's always bittersweet.
The last day of vacation means one last time in the ocean, a sweaty drive back to Richmond and a mental readjustment of place and purpose.
As it shook down today, the water was warm, but still refreshing at 10 a.m.
The drive took less than three hours from cottage door to city door.
Getting my head back into real life mode, though, took a bit longer.
It's not that I'm not glad to be back in Richmond, a city I love with plenty of ways to keep me interested and busy.
But here I don't go around in my bathing suit all day long and the non-stop crash of waves is conspicuously absent.
(heave post-vacation sigh)
Clothes and city sounds? It's a lot of transition to ask of a person in one day.
On the plus side, I had an invitation for dinner (meaning a chance to share some of my vacation stories) and enough time beforehand to do my beach laundry and put away the contents of my bags.
Looking for a cool place to eat and share tales from the beach, we settled on Cellar Door and a corner booth.
The music was satisfyingly eclectic, from Sinatra's "All or Nothing at All" to Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4" with Hendrix in between.
Not surprisingly, it was the owner's iPod and not a satellite radio station.
I started with an Italian, the Annalisa Pinot Grigio, since anything but a dry white would be unthinkable on a day I come home to a thermostat that read 99 degrees.
I'm sure it was actually hotter, but the device only goes as high as two digits.
The heat also kept our appetites in check; my choice of the River House was suitably light, with sauteed garlic shrimp over mesclun, avocado, red onion, cukes and grape tomatoes and a house-made Italian vinaigrette.
After our salads, we had the cremini mushrooms sauteed in sherry with garlic and parsley, a generous dish of garlicky mushrooms that ensured that no one would want to kiss either of us later.
Okay, maybe someone but not most people.
While waiting for dessert to arrive, musicians began to set up, but we hadn't a clue as to what to expect.
The Limoncello flute had been described to us as a sorbet but it was creamier than that, almost like a lemon meringue pie in a glass (but minus the crust).
It may have been the perfect hot weather dessert, light and refreshing.
Soon a guy began rapping, but only after announcing before his second song, "I got my epic cheesy ass introduction for this."
With a recommendation like that, who wouldn't want to stay and hear what other bon mots he had to offer?
Okay, us, but one of us had had a late night and for me it had been a long day traversing states and states of mind.
So despite the sweetness of being home and in great company at a favorite subterranean restaurant, I was closing out my day far from a lot of the things that have been giving me pleasure this week.
Bittersweetness aside, as long as I'm back I may as well jump right back in.
I happen to know I can find pleasure wherever I am.
Even with garlic breath.