“The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the endless skies”
The next morning we awake in our cozy Nashville townhouse. While The Miracle showers and gets ready for work, I head into the kitchen to make us a couple of lattes.
I look out the French doors and watch a variety of birds take turns flittering to our feeder. The hardwood floors feel cool on my bare feet as the smell of fresh espresso drifts out of the machine and fills the room.
A few minutes later she emerges in full splendor. I gaze upon her and open my arms. “My Lord, you look resplendent in that tight black dress. What time is the modeling shoot?”
She smiles. “My biggest fan.”
My mind drifts back to that moment four years ago in Del Mar when she waltzed into my life. With her flowing, sun-streaked hair and a smile that could melt a wall of ice. She was a friend of a friend, a chance encounter at a dinner party that almost didn’t happen—that changed my life forever.
From the beginning there existed an inexplicable familiarity. In the magical moment of our first embrace, I whispered, “Holding you feels like coming home.”
“Pauly, are you daydreaming?” She comes in close for a long hug and kisses my neck.
“I was remembering the night we met.”
“You are such a hopeless romantic.”
“Call me a hopeful romantic. You do look fabulous.”
“Thank you. I want to make a good impression on my first day.”
“The new job begins. I better put a sandwich in your Kim Kardashian lunchbox.”
She laughs and squeezes me tighter.
I breathe in her fragrance. “Holding you still feels like coming home.”
“You do remember our first night together.”
The Miracle looks at me like a small child gazing up at a Ferris wheel for the first time. “Did you make me my special latte?”
“Of course.” I hand her a cup of black gold. “This is your specially concocted elixir of happiness, guaranteed to kill any morning grouchies.”
“Yummy. You take such good care of me.” After a long sip of the brew, she checks her hair in the mirror. “I hardly slept, worrying about my first day of work.”
“Miracle, between your excellent people skills and supermodel looks, you’re a natural for this kind of work.”
She gives me a kiss on the cheek. “Thanks for the moral support. Pauly, can you drive me over? I don’t want to be late.”
Since we have downsized to a single Prius, I shift hats from barista to chauffeur. “At your service, My Lady.”
The half-mile trip to the mall takes a quick five minutes and because it feels like the first day of school, I walk her inside.
She is the new manager of the Sunglass Shack, with a corporate mandate to sell as many cheaply made yet exorbitantly priced pieces of plastic (designer sunglasses) to what Noam Chomsky compassionately calls “the bewildered herd.”
After a kiss farewell, I give her a gentle tap on her tush and then take a lap around the energy-draining vortex of synthetic light. Strange smells and exotic displays of decadence dot the shiny terrain.
Before escaping I sneak a peek at my girl… looking quite dear in her tiny retail fiefdom. I marvel that the fates brought us back together, and at how far we have come from our embryonic days strolling the beaches in Del Mar. Did we really break up and come back together? There were so many agonizing moments when it felt that all hope was surely lost, and yet, there she is. I shake my head.
For a few moments I am lost in the morning mall workers hurrying to their servitude and then suddenly back there in San Diego, remembering our toes in the sand, the sound of the waves, a shared ice cream cone, a certain hug, wounded tears, long talks, holding hands, and our golden days of happiness.
In my head I hear her voice, “Pauly, you can do it.”
I reach into my pocket and take out a small, crumpled piece of paper. I’d scribbled “Hitchhiking with Larry David” on it the morning before, post-dream.
A spontaneous chuckle pops out of me as I consider the absurdity of the summer. A woman walks by and gives me a strange look perhaps wondering what this fool is laughing about to himself
Can I write a book? Why not start, and see what happens?
Back at the house, I find an old yellow pad and initiate a primitive outline by recalling as many of the summer’s surreal moments as possible: Larry picking me up, my parents craziness, the beauty of the Vineyard, and of course my Miracle reunion.
I look through my journal and come upon the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Give all to love
Obey thy heart
Friends, kindred, days,
Plans, credit and the Muse
Opening up my laptop, I take a shot at writing. To my surprise, the words come in waves, and then keep coming.
Ten hours later, still going strong, my flow is interrupted by a world-weary voice on the phone. “Pauly, I am finally done. Can you come get me? I am so tired, and my feet are killing me. Help me…”
It takes me all of twenty minutes to retrieve her and put those tired, aching toes in my hands. I slowly attempt to rub from them all the retail hell and agony they have absorbed. “How does that feel?”
“Heavenly…” Her face contorts. “Oh, right there… okay, not so firm. I don’t know if I can do this forty to fifty hours a week.”
I get up and close the blinds.
“Pauly, do you mind pouring me a glass of wine? I need to unwind and forget about all the pain in my body.”
“Is white alright?”
She nods, and I open up a bottle and pour her a glass.
She smiles and takes it from me. “Thank you.” After a long, slow sip. “My God that is so good.”
I glance down at her pair of super-high black heels. “Speaking of God, I don’t think she intended human beings to stand in those kind of shoes. But I do think you should wear them in bed tonight…
“Seriously girl, why not get a pair of flats or cool black sneakers that are way more comfortable?
The Miracle looks at me as if I had just suggested setting the neighbor’s Labrador on fire. “Are you kidding? I can’t wear flats. You have to wear hot, sexy shoes. You have to look glamorous.”
“Is that the company’s rule?”
“The unspoken rule.” She takes another sip of her Sauvignon Blanc and relaxes back into the oversized leather chair. “Besides, those shoes make my ass look better.”
“Well then, say no more..!”
Classified Information: There is a top-secret bachelor maxim: “Beware any woman in super-crazy shoes. The crazier the shoes, the crazier the gal.” I ponder this a moment before returning to my role of in-house reflexologist.
“Pauly that feels so good. Thank you.” She puts her glass down and leans forward to deliver a sweet little kiss on my lips.”
I smile, “I’m well paid.”
She takes a deep breath, “The district manager was training me, so I never had a moment to call you. We didn’t even take a lunch break. The minutiae is mind boggling.” She takes another sip and lets go of a deep exhale. “Oh my God, your hands feel heaven sent.”
“Maybe I missed my calling as a manservant.”
“Your hands are so strong.”
“Probably from all of those years of playing the piano. Certainly not from any manual labor.”
She grins and I feel my stomach respond in joy. “Pauly what did you do all day?”
“Well, I started the book. Or, more accurately, I started a Word document.”
Her face glows. “You did? That’s thrilling! I love the thought of you writing.”
She looks down at her feet, then into my eyes, then away, and then back again. “God, I so missed you this past summer. It was tough to be apart.”
I suddenly feel completely emptied out.
She is gone.
Our townhouse is empty and silent, and I feel hallowed out. The sleepless nights drift by with faded stars turning into weary sunrises. Food has lost its taste as I stagger through an endless series of zombie days.
She is gone.
Since people keep asking me why the band broke up, I avoid our favorite haunts and the burden of repeating the same sad story for the curious and the caring.
So this is what I wanted?
When I did the clean sweep and got rid of all the drama and madness, I also cast out the love and connection. Yet there is no peace in this stark landscape devoid of laughter, touch, and tenderness.
She is gone.
To be still is to feel intense pain. To move is to feel numb. So I wander like a ghost throughout the deserted city where late night yellow lights flash caution to anyone silly enough to still be casting about. I roam these darkened streets long after everything rational is closed. I drive for hours while every sane soul is in bed ensconced within the arms of his beloved.
To disregard sacred love feels like a sin and the ultimate form of self-destruction.
Heavens, what have I done?
She is gone.
“Pauly, where did you go? I was saying how hard it was to be separated.”
I squeeze her feet gently and exhale. “You have no idea.”
“But that is behind us now.” She smiles warmly.
I take a deep breath and let go of another level of the summer’s pain. I lean in closer and whisper, “I am so sorry for everything I did, or didn’t do. It was insane for us to go apart.”
She leans forward and gives me a long hug. “Me too. Let’s never break up again.”
“Amen.” I put my arms around her and press her against me gently.
She kisses my cheek. “Come to bed with me.”
We retire to our room where I light a single candle to illuminate our dancing forms as Beethoven’s Sonata #8 in C minor plays softly in the background. Our bodies engage and merge in a slow, steady dance building to a mind blowing mutual crescendo of breathless bliss.
The physical chemistry and connection between us has always been a strength. Even in our darkest moments, this part of our lives was always a bright shining light of communal unification.
“As the river surrenders itself to the ocean,
What’s inside of me
Moves inside of you”
After a timeless interlude with nothing between us but the sweet sweat of our encounter, she gets up to blow out the candle. I take in her long, flowing hair and perfect curves silhouetted in the dancing light.
“You are so arresting,” I say more to myself than to her.
She leans forward and extinguishes the tiny flame and climbs back into bed. “Oh, you just love me.”
“Yes I do.”