Might as well.

12 Nov


The Island

You put your arms around me and I’m home.

This is a love story. This is a story about two people who came from opposite places in different times and found each other. This is a story about an island, magic, and chance.

She was a carefree sprite, right from the beginning. Adopted by strict, but ultimately loving parents in the tumultuous 1960’s, she grew up on a farm in the outskirts of San Diego, California. He was the fourth of four boys in a suburban, Catholic family. His family lived right behind St. Mary’s Parochial School in Royal Oak, Michigan. She milked cows before school, and climbed mountains after. He tore around the neighborhood with a gang of rowdy, unstoppable boys, both brothers and friends, raising hell while always making it to Mass on Sunday mornings.

Her high school was a southern California stereotype. Of the 1500 students in her class, she was close with three. The palm trees swayed in the balmy breeze as she traipsed to class in her Minnetonka boots and danced on the grass at weekend music festivals. His high school was small, private, and austere. He is still close with his elementary school friends. They played pickup basketball on icy blacktops and sped down Woodward Avenue on Friday nights.

            When she graduated from high school, she left the farm and her family behind, looking for adventure. She had heard that Lake Tahoe is beautiful in the spring time. There, on the side of a mountain in a wooden cabin, she slept on a beanbag and subsisted on tomatoes and sunshine. Skiing in the morning, swimming in the afternoon, and dancing in the moonlight; it was an idyllic California dream. After he graduated from high school, he went to college with his friends, and left after a few semesters to quiet the restless whispers sighing in his dreams. He travelled with nothing but a shabby old backpack and relentless optimism. Hitchhiking across the country, he climbed the ferocious mountains he had only heard about, and splashed in the azure ocean he had seen in books.

When the luster of Lake Tahoe had worn off, she went back to San Diego and started classes at the community college. She was going to be a veterinarian, and heal the animals she had grown up with. She ate fifty cent tacos for lunch and quesadillas for dinner. Her bubble gum pink roller skates were never far from the front door, and the ocean was a quick jog down the street. When the one bedroom apartment she shared with a friend started to close in around her she relocated to an island just across the bay from San Diego.

After he patted dry the salty ocean from his face, and patched up the holes in his shoes, he decided on whim to head west. He packed his meager supply of worldly possessions in his cornflower blue convertible and shoved the gear in drive. He drove alone across the flatlands of Iowa, through the deserts of Arizona, and wove his way up the mountains which eventually spat him out on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. He found himself idling at the entrance to a bridge that led to a small island that was beckoning him with curling white waves and promises of freedom.

The natives will tell you that Coronado is an enchanted island. It is small and unassuming, like the best magical islands are. The grass is otherworldly green, and the sea is an ever changing, tempestuous chameleon. Buildings line the tidy streets, a barrier from the salty breeze that cascades over the shoulders of the island’s hardy residents. If you look south, north, and west, there is nothing but ocean to greet you. A glance to the east, and there is the sparkling city of San Diego, reflecting in the velvety black bay. The residents are few; the houses are sturdy and square. Outdoor dining is not a suggestion, but a requirement, for on the supernatural island, the weather is always perfect. The ubiquitous palm trees parade along the shore and giant boulders are sentries against the wild ocean. The sidewalks have sand in the cracks, and there are more bikes than cars on quiet neighborhood streets. The night air shimmers with suggestion, and the water gleams with help from the bright white moon. It is here, on this extraordinary plot of land, at the witching hour, that the two lovers meet with the stars glimmering and the wind murmuring secrets in empty streets.

She was coming in for the late shift waitressing at McP’s. He was the new guy tending bar. Her skirt was short and her ponytail bounced atop her fairy-like frame. He felt her before he saw her. She brought the night in with her, filling the bar with a sort of mysterious light that blinded him with its glory. Laughing her way through the crowd to the bar, she carried a tray of drinks off into the fray with confidence rarely seen on someone so slight. Her cerulean eyes twinkled with mirth and he drowned in them, mixing drinks as the room echoed in his head.

When she brought the next drink ticket up and slid it across the sticky bar to him, their eyes locked and the room was flooded by their electricity. He pulled the ticket from her fingers and when their fingertips grazed, time all around the world stopped, just for second, because in that second the universe ceased to exist. That moment was for them, and no one else.

It was on the island of Coronado that he found her, and she found him. Her heart held ever so gingerly in his road weary hands, and his soul kept safe in hers. It was on that island that they made lifelong friends, and on that island they made a lasting commitment to each other. Even when they left that enchanted spot of land, he carried her heart carefully in his pocket, and she kept his soul in her ring box. They have been ripped apart through unavoidable circumstances, and still his heart recognizes only hers. Twenty seven years, three girls, and four homes later, even though he lives six hours away, even though they see each other one day of seven, they are still safe in each other’s secret hiding places. He would move mountains for her, and she would drain the sea for him.

This is a love story.




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