Events tend to tie themselves to me with threads made up of seasons, the feel of the air, and the angle of the sun. Sometimes all it takes is the particular way the light falls on the trees on cold mornings leading up to the solstice, with the ground heavy and wet from the dew, clouds of my breath drifting up to mix with the clouds, to put my mind and memories back on the highway leading to a parking lot in Burlington, Washington, where I waited for what was going to come next. For the next chapter in my life to begin.
Thanks to seven day weeks, it really was exactly seven years ago, another Thursday night. Another lifetime. Waiting. Wondering if she'd show up and meet me like we'd planned. Wondering what it would bring. Knowing nothing would ever be quite the same, no matter the outcome.
She did eventually show up, if two hours late. We embarked on 48 hours of pure fantasyland on Lopez Island to a soundtrack of Christmas music, fueled by wine and chai, surrounded by seagulls and sea lions, cut off from the mainland and the greater reality awaiting us there on our return by the green waters of Puget Sound, kept warm by a wood-burning stove and a flame that had to burn out sooner rather than later.
The rest of it, of course, was a disaster.
Seven years safely removed from that particular edition of the epic drama that only lesbians can bring to a breakup, happy and secure in my relationship with the woman I love, the night before the solstice still takes me back to that singular place after which there has been no turning back, as if Billy Pilgrim was right and we do exist in all moments simultaneously, forever. As if part of me will always be sitting alone in that parking lot at the end of a two thousand mile drive, bundled inside my truck against the cold, looking at the stars, watching my solitary breath fog the windows, quietly wondering, now that I have kept my part of the bargain, how the rest will unfold.