February 21, 2010

Yankee yachts and lobster pots and sunshine

I took my dreams down the sea, again. Maybe it was watching my little beach cottage torn down with nothing left but the remains of my red kitchen wall and a slab of black concrete from Andy and Summer's room, but I needed the ocean.

We arrived at this little beach house in Cambria after a foggy and misty drive in the dark. There are signs that you are meant to be someone that come throughout a relationship. Driving with Michael is one of those signs. I can remember drives with my ex-husband that usually consisted of bickering, his fear of heights and just overall anxiety. We just didn't mesh well together in life, but put the two of us in car for five hours and it wasn't a pretty picture.

I took my first long drive with Michael to Cambria. Cambria is a very special place in my family's life. My mother discovered it long ago and used to come here often with friends. She and I once took a road trip here and it was one of the best times I've ever had. We have celebrated holidays here, camped here, and even held Andy and Ami's wedding here.

It was 2004 and Michael and I were dating. We were falling in love and it was new. We were both scared, but when we were together, the fears disappeared. I took Michael to the beach to celebrate his birthday which happens to fall on the same day as my daughter's. I rented a beach house with a Viking stove and gourmet kitchen so he could cook his heart out. Since his divorce, he had become a great chef and I loved being the recipient of his creative dishes.

As we drove, we talked and laughed and arrived in Cambria in what seemed like an hour. This is the way it looks when you are meant to be with someone. Things that may annoy one person may be the very thing that someone else loves. I love that Michael analyzes life and knows so much about so many things. I find him incredibly interesting and could listen to him talk forever. I also love that he's so calm and that he loves driving. He is the yin to my yang. Put the two of us in a car and it's magic. It always seems as if we arrive to our destinations in half the time that it takes. I actually look forward to road trips with Michael.

The beach house is set right on the beach in an area called Marine Terrace. It is the closest I've ever stayed on the water. We are literally right on the rocks. If there is ever a time that I appreciate California, it's when I'm at the beach. The Northern Coast is rocky and misty and beautiful. Sounds of seagulls and pelicans fill the air, and the waves crashing on the rocks is heaven. Every time a new bird flies overhead, Michael runs out to see what kind of bird it is, followed by a lesson on the history of the bird, told with a boyish grin on his face. We turned on the radio yesterday and found a station that plays music from the 1930s and 40s and found ourselves dancing in front of the picture window. We cooked some great food, ate cheese and bread and drank wine and talked.

I wondered what life might have been like if Michael were the one in the old beach house. I try not to go there because I don't want to upset the good memories. I never want to forget the skinny little girl that loved to dive in the waves or the boy who wouldn't leave his computer long enough to brush his teeth, or the little boy who only had to walk a few steps to spend time with his aunt, or my mother's face every time she watched the sunset. The house may be gone but the memories aren't. And as I watched the sunset last night, I thought of the beach house and the good times with my children and sister and mother and Bryan, and I felt lucky. Lucky to be alive to tell the memories and lucky to be creating new memories with the love of my life.

"Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories." -Terry McKay


Posted at February 21, 2010 8:36 AM

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