Sunday, May 13, 2012
"We are nearly in California" I said as you stirred from your sleep. The sun was throwing Frisbee's of light at us as the terrain ceased it's incessant sameness. "Would you hand me my sunglasses on the floor between your feet?" You just blinked your eyes and stared at me. I looked to the road then back at you. Your gaze was unwavering. I started to speak but you reached over and cranked the volume to the stereo up. The song was "Amie" by Pure Prairie League. I smiled and we both began to sing. When the song ended I thought we would start talking but the DJ had the upper hand on me as he plowed ahead and spun "Lay Down Sally". As the sun hit your pretty face I wanted to kiss the DJ for playing the perfect song at the perfect moment. The song was saying everything I wanted to say, but better. You reached over and squeezed my leg as you kissed my ear. You turned and reached down for my glasses. You didn't hand them to me. You wiped them on your shirt and placed them on my face. Just in time too. I was getting choked up and for some strange reason I did not want you to see the tear that was straining to get away from me. With the shades on I could finally open the other eye. I felt my headache leave me in an instant. A toll gate appeared ahead of us. I wasn't sure where my wallet was so I asked you if you had any money handy. You smiled and pulled a wad of cash out of your bag that you had snatched off the bar in Leadville. We were both laughing as we pulled up to the gate. It wasn't money they wanted. They wanted to know if we had fruit or vegetables in the vehicle. When I answered yes, we were told to turn around and go to a little picnic spot where we could either eat the stuff or throw it away. I was perfectly fine with throwing the stuff away but you were having none of that. You had learned growing up that you never knew where the next meal might come from. You also put value on things that many people took for granted. I steered the Jeep; towards the picnic area and parked. We opened the cooler and took inventory. Two Tomatoes, two Apples, one Banana, three Jalapenos, and some lettuce. I looked at it as garbage, you looked at it as a perfect salad. You pulled the cutting board out and went to work. You could have won one of those dumb ass cooking challenges with what you did. While you put it together I turned up "Your Bright Baby Blues" by Jackson Browne. You and this god blessed DJ were really working the right mojo on me. I pulled two cups out and reached for water when I realized how stupid I was being. I had hidden a bottle of Champagne for when we made it to the coast. Instantly I saw that we were at the gate to the coast and a celebration was in order. I was learning a lot from you. On my own I would have thrown perfectly good food away and kept on trucking. Your poetic approach to things put out a fire that I had not even realized was burning. I had felt at peace before of course. But now I realized I had felt at peace behind a foggy front. You cleared the air for me. All the sudden everything came in to clearer focus. I blew the cork into the air. Your pretty head turned when you heard the pop and just gave me the most satisfied smile I ever had seen. I did a little silly jig through the sand toward you, kicking up dust like I used to see the roosters on my family's ranch do. I poured us two cups and clinked mine to yours. I went to take a swig when you let out a yelp. "Hey! Can't a lady get a kiss with her champagne around here?" I leaned in and I swear I thought you were going to steal my soul with the way you kissed me. As we pulled away you immediately started talking. "If we ever had a daughter I would want to name her Sally." This really came out of the blue for me. I did not even know if we would still be together after this adventure, even though that was my goal. "Why Sally?" "Not sure....." "Does it have anything to do with my calling my best friend Chris, Sally?" "Hmmmm...., maybe. Yes. Actually yes definitely. I would want you to have that kind of love for our daughter. Elevated maybe? I don't have many answers Patrick, I am just feeling things right now. Is that okay?" My thoughts were beyond elevated at that point. "Of course it is okay. I feel for better or better, that inner wishes should be brought out into the light. How else do you find out what you really want or really need? Kate, I just want to say that I really like what you are saying. You are speaking to my soul. I don't want to sound foolish talking like this but I am more afraid of being a fool by not talking this way." I could feel the waves of emotions starting to suck me under. I wanted to tell her how much I loved her. I wanted to ask her to marry me. Of course I did not. It was too soon. I would ruin everything if I showed my hand too soon. Or so I thought. The champagne splashing on my hand due to the addition of a raspberry being tossed into it brought me back to the moment. I had been day dreaming longer than I thought. I looked up and you had two other people with you. "This is Chris and Kelly. I traded them a tomato and a jalapeno for some raspberries. I hope you enjoy babe." I stood up at that point, shook his hand,walked around the table and gave her a kiss on the cheek. They seemed very pleasant indeed. My mind was off on that magic carpet ride again though. Babe. Babe. Babe is how you referd to me. That seemed to me like a bigger gate to go through than the one that had inspired this impromptu picnic. I walked over to the cutting board and scooped up the pepper slices and threw them all in my mouth. I started sweating. I started howling. I started dancing. For once in my life I did not care if I looked the fool. As the heat started to taper I ran to you and wrapped you up in my arms. "Babe!" I barked in a heated breath, "Let's get through that gate! I ain't never seen the Pacific ocean and I am dying!" You gave me the most luscious kiss at that point and said good bye to our new friends. As we rolled through the gate and entered California the DJ hit us once again. As we crossed into California Gilbert O'Sullivans masterpiece "Alone again (naturally)" was playing. Maybe my heart or your heart or both of our hearts would be lonely again. We didn't give a fuck about that. We were together and we were going to see the other side of this country.