“Get your shifts covered this weekend.” He said.
“I booked us a cabin at the Big Sur Inn. We can take my car.”
He’d been trying to book us a cabin there for months, with no luck. That was just like him though, always planning stuff on a whim. I loved his spontaneity. There was always another adventure waiting for us around the corner, no matter how much I’d rather just lay in bed naked with him.
“There’s no wifi, no cable or phones. Just a pot-belly stove and a bed and bathroom.”
That’s all we needed really. I knew we’d spend the better half of our time laying around naked, caressing, massaging and appreciating each other in complete solitude. No pets or phone calls or doors to answer to, just our basic instincts; hunger and sex.
I remembered the night of his 33rd birthday, when he’d mixed too much whiskey and beer and we both woke up in warm, wet sheets, “Goddammit Nancy.” He muttered, still drunk, blaming the dog. At first I was horrified, thinking it had been me, my anxious ridden body losing control in my sleep, like it did when I was much younger. I let him believe that Nancy was the culprit. It was his birthday nonetheless. Besides, if we could get past the both of us waking up in his piss, I figured we could get through a weekend of sleep farting and confined spaces together.
In the morning, we packed the car and headed up PCH. We stopped every once in a while for me to smoke a bowl so I didn’t get car-sick from the winding road. “My sensitive flower,” he’d call me. He didn’t like to smoke, but it didn’t bother him that I needed it. We sang the Ramones and Roky Erickson together,
“Starry eyes, how can I get to you? My true little, starry eyes, what can I say or do for you my little? Starry eyes, starry eyes forever shall be mine. Starry eyes, what can I say to make you listen? Starry eyes, what can I do for your attention? Starry eyes, starry eyes forever shall be mine. When I’m alone I hear and feel you, I wish that I could reach right out and touch you, but knowing you’re the one to greet me and meet me, two alone in the dark, may it be.”
We talked about our moms and what it felt like to lose them. He squeezed my hand and told me everything was going to be alright, and I believed him. For once in my life, I didn’t feel like I had to hide anything. Loving him was liberating. Whatever fears I held onto, he taught me to let go. Ours was a love I never fathomed could happen to me. What did I do to deserve a man like this? The green in his eyes twinkled and gleamed with affection and admiration. Loving him filled the void that ate at my heart since the night my mom died. Finally, this is the love that Sade sang about, his love was king and he gave me the kiss of life. This was the love of my most intimate dreams. It’s never been a dream of mine to get married, no never. Instead, I’ve often dreamed of catching that sentimental gleam in the eyes of the man that held my heart in his hands. I radiated with love even with the slightest thought of him.
It was raining when we finally pulled into The Big Sur Inn, just as I’d hoped for. The stream from the nearby creak wrapped around our cabin. It’s trickling tunes was the soundtrack to our romantic and rainy weekend.
He lit the pot bellied fire place and we left our beers in the sink to chill while we hiked upstream to take photos in the rain. There was no reception or wifi, no outside world to distract us from one another. At night, we slept with the fire burning, and the curtains open. We took turns massaging each other as we did every night before we went to bed. I took his calloused hands in mine and cracked his knuckles just the way he liked. He pulled at my toes until there was no more pop left in them. We made love all night with the creek trickling by outside and the pop pop pop of the fireplace in the background. When we came, he held me in his arms until I fell asleep, his warm body wrapped around mine, our legs, a tangled web of tenderness. Nothing else mattered.
That night, I dreamed of my mother, as I often did when I lay next to him. I was back at our house, now long gone due to foreclosure. In my room, basked in yellow light, every inch of my soul was warm with the glow and comfort of home. I laid in bed staring at the yellow ceiling like I had done numerous times before. My mom knocked twice on the door and came into the room without waiting for an answer like she always did. She looked down at me and smiled. “Hola mijita, you’re home. Ya estas aqui.” A golden hue radiated from her, she was wrapped in love and light and I wanted so badly for her to reach down and touch me, to let me feel those soft hands that used to braid my hair and stroke my back, just one last time. The tears were warm against my cheeks and I was engulfed in love. For the first time since my mom had left us, I was genuinely happy. I woke both of us up with my crying and before I could muster the energy to say “I’m sorry, I’m okay.” He rolled over, pulled me to him and said, “She loves you baby, and I do too, you don’t need to be sad anymore.”
In the morning, we showered together, he rubbed the lavender soap the Inn had supplied us onto my back as I brushed my teeth, letting the warm water wash away the dried tears off my face. We ate french toast for breakfast and spent the day in the forest hiking to the abandoned limestone mines, stopping here and there to take photos. We took our boots off to cross the creak. We walked through the forest barefoot, letting grass and dirt and earth touch and caress our city feet. After our hike, we had steak for dinner at Deetjen’s and took a nap together with the windows open. I made reservations for night bathing at The Esalen, a cliffside hot spring just a few miles away from our cabin. At midnight, we drove the 10 miles south and bathed naked under the full moon, the waves crashed loudly and rampantly against the cliffs. I felt like I was in a dream. I pinched his butt a few times and then mine, to make sure it was really real. I let go of all my fears when I was with him. Everything with him was effortless.
That night, when we crawled into bed, I stared into those hazel green eyes and I said , “You’re the man I’ve always dreamt of. I’m afraid of waking up and find you gone.” He kissed me on my forehead like he always did and said, “This, this is not a dream, being here with you is heaven, I don’t need anything else.”
Sometimes I wonder if he still thinks about that weekend like I do. The smell of the wet leaves, the smoke that clung to our clothes from the fire place. How soft the sulfuric springs left our hair. The taste of our blueberry pancakes. The warmth of our embrace as we held each other to sleep. I wonder if he felt as fulfilled and complete as I did. Sometimes I wonder if he remembers what it felt like to come home to me. If I filled the void in his heart like he did mine.
I wonder what heaven is to him, now that I’m no longer his.