You look puzzled at my question.
"No," I continue, "like, a mug that you plug into the cigarette lighter that boils water in it so you can have tea on the road or something."
Your face remains unchanged.
"Okay, so, it's like a thermos, right, with a little cord attached to it, and the cord can be plugged into the cigarette lighter--"
"No, I know what you mean," you say, "but I just don't know why they'd make one."
"I'd buy one if they did." My eyes turn back to the road. You smile.
"Nah, I'd buy it first and give it to you because I'm the best girlfriend ever. I'd even give it to you early instead of waiting for a holidooooooooooooooooooooooooo--" Your sentiment is transformed to an onomatopoeia by our view of the bay.
Because there it is.
This bridge is like the right-hand side lane of a pinball machine and we're getting thrust into the loud bumpers and bright lights of a city that so desperately had to exist that God made a peninsula just for it. This is somehow a path of divinity: the only way to go is over this water and across this bridge into a place that sits alone, a star in the--
"Are you metaphorizing again?"
But we're here now. We've made it. The sun's gleaming off of the blue water and I have to catch my breath. We're however many hundred feet in the air, crossing this bridge, but I truly believe that I can see at least a glint of my reflection in the water, science be damned. You're staring off at the little islands and rock formations peppering the coast and you put your hand to the window, as if that was the only thing stopping you from leaping out into the bay.
"Toll coming up, babe," I say, snapped back into reality. "Can you grab some quarters?"
You rummage through your purse and drop a small reserver of about ten quarters and assorted other coins in the console's empty cupholder.
"Is that enough?" you ask. I peer at your leavings. "Yeah, probably. If not, that probably tells us that we can't afford anything inside the city if we can't afford to even get in."
We wait in line for the booth, get there, and I smile, knowing that we've paid passage into a place that exists as closely to heaven on this plane of existence as could possibly be.
"Are you hungry?" I ask.
"You sure do wonder that a lot. If we have kids, they're going to have freakish metabolism." And it's true: I'm built like a toothbrush and you've got a body fat percentage lower than the average federal interest rate. Since I switch standard for diet Dr. Pepper and gave up alcohol entirely, I've managed to lose about twenwaaaaaaaaaaait a second.
"Kids?" I ask. You look embarrassed.
"For what? Kids?"
"To have them, maybe, considering that thing you have to do in order to have kids."
"But the conversation? Bringing them up as a topic? Casually?"
I have to think.
I've always been the one pushing this, anyway; it was my idea for the trip, I bought that coffee maker to try and get you to stay over more often, I got those nice white bedsheets when I realized you would be staying occasionally, I got that nice new comforter when I realized that you would be staying regularly, and I've been so terrified to say what I actually think about anything--last night's discussion of marriage was more a hypothetical than it was a dipping a toe in the water--and you've brought up the idea of progeny.
I look at you, your big sunglasses covering your eyes like a gigantic ladybug, your hair throned by the water behind your head, and I wonder what our kids would be like. Would they be short like you, or tall like me? Short girls and tall boys, each gender taking after their common-gendered parent? Would they have that mess of straw-thin blonde hair that I came out of the womb with, or would they have a thick, dark tangle of your tresses? I hope, for the sake of their equilibrium (and your vagina) that they won't have my massive head--forehead big enough to be a fivehead--and maybe they'll be like Emery and look just like the great-grandparents that they never got to meet in this life and maybe they'll have long, slender fingers and be born with little sausage toes (I love your little sausage toes) or they'll have a little nose like yours but either way they'll probably have big ears because both of us have big ears and our hearing is better for it but they'll probably get made fun of like we both did at those ages and I swear to God if you ever tried to give any son of ours a fauxhawk I'd just shave it right from his head.
"Maybe it's too soon for other people, but it doesn't feel too soon for us."
"Too soon to have the kids, though," you say, perhaps concerned that I thought of it as a proposition. "I don't really want kids right now. Later, definitely, but not right now."
"Well, you know that they're, at the absolute minimum, nine months away."
"Punk." You smile and pinch my hand before taking it in yours.
We continue on into the city. The 10 AM sun glistens over the water like a mirror in front of a mirror and the oscillating waves jumping up and down below us, somehow, make me love you a little more.
"I hope they'd have your hair," I say. "It'd be a damn shame if they took after me and were born with a widow's peak sharp enough to peel an orange."
"I like your widow's peak. It lets me see more of your face." Your hand squeezes mine three times.
I look over at you in your red snap shirt, the almost-out-of-season scarf draped lightly around your neck, your moccasin-clad feet, the dark hair noosed into a ponytail hanging over your left shoulder, this whole image-worth-a-thousand-words of you, set in front of water pure enough to fight the Devil, and I don't think you've ever been more beautiful.
I don't think anything has ever been more beautiful.
And nothing says "beauty" like pancakes overlooking the ocean, so it's time for Louis'. And there's a very particular view I want to show you.