Mile marker 152.7. My Girl blares in the car as I’m cruising at 70 MPH and glance over as you merge onto the turnpike. Our eyes lock in a momentary, eternal gaze. A knowing nod, smile, and wink crescendo with timeless Temptation’s perfection.
Who knew in that Karmic instant classic I’d hit the lottery and realize I’ve never been to Bozeman and neither have you so we pack up our baggage in a covered wagon with sweaters and boots and a box of dreams and 21 questions of Truth or Dare to figure it out.
Music always gives answers I’m afraid to arrive at alone. Like you I like Haim and Motown but you say, “You need to drop the Beatles and I don’t know if I can be with a man who thinks he knows all the words to T. Swift’s new album.”
“The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys is the best fucking song ever”. I mentally diagram your sentence but am confused by adverbs and adjectives and participles, and accept I don’t know exactly what you mean but wonder if Stevie Wonder ever covered Steve Winwood.
We split a bag of Hershey Miniatures. You like the brown and the dark wrappers while I’m all about the reds and yellows. Sometimes when we make out you bite my lip; you may come for blood but I know you stay for the sweetness.
We watch Himalayan sunrises while trekking through Nepal, and Key West sunsets before a Hemingway-esque Duval crawl.
We dance through the cobblestone streets of Soler, Majorca, and bang like grad students on spring break in Baja.
We sit facing one another on a faded red picnic table by the bay picking crabs with sandy toes on sandy toes immune to onlookers yet moved by the dance of the airs of the land and sea inviting us to slow dance to Marvin Gaye. How Sweet It Is is not really a slow song, but we stay locked as one as I dare not break your double-arm, warm embrace around my neck.
We drink Ayahuasca in Costa Rica and go skinny dipping in Fiji. We sing and dance on tables at the Officer’s Club in Yokosuka. We read Hafiz and Rumi on a beach in Dubai and feed the stingrays in Cayman.
Your exemptions are Idris and Gosling; mine are Este and Kristen Scott Thomas. You shake your head and smirk as you Bing search both.
The pics we text are risky and fun and we laugh at the thought of an eager NSA analyst summarizing his report, but you squirm when I declare, “Nudes are great but let’s share pics of the contents of our medicine cabinets so we know what we’re really dealing with.”
Deflecting, you ask, “Can we still do phone sex after we’re married?”, then offer me the crook of your elbow to audition a dance of lips and tongue and teeth and surrender.
We stop at a riverfront coffee shop on the banks of the San Juan. You order Earl Grey and a cinnamon bun with the cream cheese icing and choose two barstools across from the young man selling solar roofs and a middle-aged writer frantically scribbling in a notebook.
“Maybe it’s about me?” you muse, holding your clutch in your lap.
I go with a Mocha and the bun covered in maple glaze icing. When I return from the restroom your warm empty seat sends a chill down my spine as I realize you’re gone for good. I pick the last congealed remnant of sweetness from your plate and feel the blood draining from my heart. I lower my sunglasses to hide the clown tears forming.
Mile 152.8. I’ve never been to Bozeman but at least I still got my Motown.
Editor’s note: It takes 5 seconds for a car traveling at 70 mph to go .1 miles. Welcome to my world.