Written to my husband, May 1, 2006:
You and I are driving home, reminiscing about those days when we first flirted together.
I remember the first time I looked at you with desire was in the Fall of 1998. You were driving me somewhere then too, and you said something funny. I laughed. Not to be courteous: what you’d said was truly funny, and it was a real laugh, a laugh with surprise in it. In mid-laugh I felt a pang of sadness because I was going overseas and I thought that this was your last year of graduate study, so that when I came back to Stanford, you would be gone. I thought that I would never see you again. I was mistaken.
“Do you remember?” I say. “We were in the same car we’re in now, in the same seats. The car was new then.”
Do you remember? I was leaning against the hood of this car when you first kissed me, on the evening of July 8th 1999, just a couple of weeks after I got home from Europe. It was at Ocean Beach and it was so cold and windy. We had just walked together by the water and you’d held my hand. I’d showed you the scar on my knee from the surgery on my broken leg, and you’d laid your palm on the place where my tibia is still bumpy–where it mended into an unwell shape. You were so close and I was waiting for you to kiss me. There was a bus idling at its terminus near us in the parking lot–it waited with the lights on and the doors open for its turn-around time. You were waiting for the bus to leave because you didn’t want the driver to see us. Perhaps, the driver was waiting for us too.
The three of us there, late on a thursday night.
You body touched mine and we were tired of waiting then. It was then that you put your arms around me and gave me the first kiss of many–leaning right against this car–with the bus driver watching.
In this car, you drove me to the emergency room so many times that they cannot be possibly be counted–you so quiet and worried, me curled up in the passenger seat in blinding pain as always. Some nights, not in this car. Some nights, in an ambulance.
In this car, you drove me to the hospital to get cut open.
In this car, you drove alone to San Francisco to marry me on the morning of June 6th, 2004.
In this car, you drove us home the next day from the honeymoon suite of The Seal Rock Inn–the first place we’d made love all legal-like.
This car is old now. The latch on the glove compartment just had to be replaced–its random small parts are starting to fail. One day we will have to get a new car, maybe drive some kids around.
This car: a 1998 Toyota Corolla, white.
In this car, I first looked at you with desire.
In this car eight years later, you drive me home.
We bought a new car today, a Prius in a lovely ocean color. “Sea glass pearl,” the manufacturer calls this color. In some lights it looks blue, in some lights green, in some lights gray. The ride is smooth and very, very quiet. Accelerating in this car makes a whispering wind-up sound reminiscent of stately space vessels in cheesy sci fi movies. It sounds like the future.