Monday, April 22, 2013
I didn't hear what his name was when I first asked him and refused to trouble him with the question again. I was percolating some coffee on the camp stove and the cold Pacific was nullifying other noises with her gray slapping of the shore. You were still asleep in the tent as the sun was rising behind me for the first time in my life.We were on Pismo beach and this was the first time I had seen it in the day light. I was staggered by the brilliance in front of me. Arriving in the middle of the night we had a hard time being quiet knowing everyone else was asleep. The tent went up effortlessly and we kicked off our shoes before treading to where the ocean could wash our travels from our feet. You put your feet in and shrieked about the coldness of the water. I felt the cold hard sand under my head as I layed back and stared up into the clear sky. I slowly made love to you,trying not to wake anyone. When you plopped down beside me and asked where the beer was I woke up from my revelry and treaded back to the Jeep. The grin on my face held our future as I came back to you with two cold bottles. I didn't dare speak. You were witnessing the Pacific for the first time and some how a distant transistor was belting out Al Stewart's "Year of the cat".I had barely started to hum along to the song, I had barely clinked my bottle to yours, I had barely said cheers when you rolled on top of me and kissed away my thoughts. If there had ever been a saltier wind worn romantic moment in my life, it was erased.I wrapped my trembling arms around your perfectly still hips and settled in. The rest of the night seemed effortless aside from feeling like I was going to drown if I didn't admit the love I felt growing. I kept quiet and put us both to sleep. He accepted the cup of coffee and sat down at the picnic table. He was 85 and was camping his way up the coast to meet a couple of guys that he camped with every year for the last forty years. They were his brothers from the war. Normandy was just an eye close away. He liked to keep his eyes open. He had a reason for being here and his gentle but strong presence was very welcome as we shared the coffee. My insignificance didn't faze him. He noted how far I had traveled when he saw my Virginia plates and told me how his wife used to make this trip with him. She was feeling her age and didn't want to be in a tent anymore. As he said this I saw him look into our tent and take your young bare feet into account.There was no turning the clock back and I had a strong feeling that he wouldn't even given the chance. He wasn't wishing to live another life, he did not want time back, he was doing as he had always done. He was taking every moment on it's own merits and I was lucky enough to enjoy a sunrise and a story and a couple cups of coffee with him. The conversation never ended, it just stopped. There was no farewell, he just made his way back to his buggy and I woke you up. You blinked your eyes open and I remembered why I was alive. When I leaned towards you, you nibbled my ear. I knew I had a woman feeling her age and I knew that if I paused the moment would pass me by. I took the kiss, I took the ocean, I took the old man, I took more than I probably should. But I took it. As I dusted the sand off of the tent and packed it into the jeep you asked me what was wrong. You did not wait for an answer. You sucked the tear from my cheek and we put the highway under us.