I rest my head in the space between my casually reclined seat and the car door interior, feet on the dash, Fearless on the radio. The familiar feeling of a car in motion, rays gleaming through the windshield, unraveling my consciousness into an ethereal trance. After a few days of rising mechanically before the sun, and a 365 day whirlwind of what feels like accident, death, loss and heartbreak, I am ready to turn on, tune in, and drop out. The freeway melts into sheathed redwood road, and my eyes glaze over as I peer forwards but think backwards. North to South. The quiet in the chaos. My body is in the car, warm and at ease. My mind is four years behind, rehearsing our story on repeat.
Act 1. Glen Oaks
It’s late afternoon and of course we have not planned overnight accommodations. It never was our style to plan ahead. We turn into a tree-lined parking lot, marked with picturesque signage that reads “Glen Oaks, Big Sur.” A saving grace in the eyes of weary road trippers who want nothing more than a comfortable bed and a roaring fire. Our humble expectations are exceeded. The Redwood Forest View cabin is a serene hideout. To the left is the bed, perfectly fit for two, adorned with warm quilts and romantic bedside lighting. Attached to the living area is a surprisingly large bathroom enhanced with heated floors and a bathtub evocative of a day at the spa. As the sun sets, we nestle by the fire; drunk, warm and softly content. I open my eyes early the next morning, tangled up in blue, yearning to explore the grounds and find the river that has been babbling throughout my dreams. I find myself on a pathway to – I’m not sure where – but my decision to transplant my life from East to West coast echoes back at me in a reassuring tone.
Act 2. Pfeiffer beach
I am floating in the freezing Pacific. Salty and tousled and void of angst. The sun is radiant, beautiful, reflecting contentment back at me as I rest on the water, facing up. I sit up, shivering and squint to see you. You’re standing at the spot where the water breaks onto the sand, foamy sea water tickling your toes. That comforting, crooked smile draws me to shore- as I approach, I tuck my head into your armpit crevice and my heart memorizes the details of this instant.
Act 3. Big Sur Bakery
I am hungry and tired as we pull up to Big Sur Bakery – a favorite of yours that I have yet to experience. The quaint, welcoming dwelling is toasty and smells like my grandmother’s kitchen. Fresh pastries and strong coffee for weary travelers and famished lovers alike. We walk out back and explore the garden as they brew a fresh pot. Your hand slips into mine, it’s warm and forgiving. I wish that my hair would stay damp forever, in fear that the memories of this morning will evaporate from my mind as quickly as the salt water depletes from each strand. We find a table outside, the wind is fawning over the redwoods and I can relate. This moment will dissipate as quickly as the last, so in the spirit of Big Sur I choose not to mourn for what has passed or revel in what’s to come. Instead, I choose to beam at you as the trees break, and I can’t tell if the light is shining from behind you or emanating from within you.