Sunday, February 21, 2010

Road trippin', pt. 7

We're only about an hour away.

"Remember that time we got in that huuuuuuuge fight?" you say, holding your arms apart like you were showing off the length of a trout you caught. "That one that was this. big.?"

"Yeah. That was a sad one."

"Do you remember what we even fought about?"

I hesitate. My brain cannot decide if this is something that needs to be drudged up from the Marianas Trench that is the third month of our relationship. But you're right--the fight was bad. It was based around some incredibly reverse-fortuitous miscommunication and some mutual selfishness and a hard day for both of us and a lack of sleep and a meal from In-N-Out (which, incidentally, we decided was really overrated) that left us both with out-of-the-blue stomach aches and a severe case of the Letdowns and I said something insensitive and you snapped at me and on and on and on and I thought it was over.

"Yeah," I say, "I remember. But I sort of don't want to bring it up again."

You put your bare feet up on the dash, your legs straightening themselves horizontal. You move them side to side to the rhythm of the clickclackclickclack of the car's license plate, the screws of which are a tiny bit loose.

"I hope you know that I remember, too," you say.

"You do? Then why'd you ask?"

"Well," you say, your toes pointing toward the ocean, "I just wanted to see if you remembered."

"It was a sad night for me."

"Me too, you know."

"I know," I say. "I remember when you called me the next morning. You sounded so...sad." My eyebrows draw closer together as I think about that tone that you had in your voice, that blend of apology and uncertainty that peeked behind every carefully-chosen word, that peered around the corners of our conversation, looking to see if it was safe to come out.

"I was sad," you say, your retroactive frown slowly upturning its corners into a grin. "But I'm happy now." My arm is on the console between us, and you gently scratch my elbow with your thumbnail. With a smile of my own, I take the signal and our fingers intertwine and cross together like lines on graph paper.

"I'm just glad those things don't hover over us, you know?" I say.

"Yeah," you reply. "Do you think we'll still remember these things further down the road? Like, we'll remember why we got into fights before?"

"'Further down the road,' you say?" I beam.

"You know what I mean. Like," you pause, "do you think we'll later recall the story of that big fight?"

"I don't think so. But I'm pretty sure we'll probably remember the talk about how glad we were to not have to remember forever."

"I like that," you say, resting your exhausted head on my shoulder. "And I like you."

And with that, you fall right to sleep. Your head is slack from your neck--you're out cold-- and it bobs back and forth as we make turns and change lanes and take off-ramps and navigate our way through the unfamiliar labyrinth that is the California Highway System.

And then I see it: San Francisco. The City by the Bay. The bay itself, too. The bridge, the surrounding islands, the waves lapping against the shore like the tongue of a puppy excited to see you, and while we're still a ways away, I remember why I wanted to bring you here.

I remember the moment that absolutely convinced me--not proved, as I still don't think you can really "prove" it, really, but that's just the Moby-Dick agnostic in me talking--that there was Something Out There, nudging me in a certain direction. Not pushing, not demanding, not making me feel guilty for doing my own thing anyway, against reason/rhyme/what have you, but pointing a gentle finger there, that way, over there.

And I feel your head jostle back and forth over my shoulder like a rolling pin as we pass the last remaining run of mile markers and I know that, if I hadn't have had the theism-solidifying drive over that very bay on that very bridge a year and a half ago, the aura of the car and the warmth of your face that I can even feel through my two shirts and the way you instinctively nuzzle even in the midst of an intense power nap and your reflexive squeezings of my hand every twenty seconds or so would be enough to convince me of the presence of Something.

Because these things, these moments, they don't just happen. They cannot be commodified. They cannot be synthesized. They simply are. They're not destinations, they're checkpoints. We're headed somewhere, you and me. We're on a trip.

Long trip.


Diana said...

Road trippin' is my favorite of all the stuff you've put up. Besides some of the poems.

France is said...

i love these. book please.

Joanna Brimhall said...

You don't know me but I happened across your blog through a mutual friend. I just wanted to say that I love your style and this particular piece is beautiful. Perfect emotional imagery. Very sweet. and that's my 2 cents...