Friday, July 8, 2011

A Ghost In Love.

I just finished reading a book called Ghost In Love by Jonathan Carroll. It was a great book.  If you're looking for a wonderful author who writes beautiful fantasy that deals mostly with life after death, fate, love, inter-worldly connections and how we all tie together -- this is your man.

In this story Mr. Carroll developed a character named Danielle who was given the opportunity to choose between living in the present and living the rest of her life as it would, or choosing a time from her past...a moment, an hour, a day, a week...and spending the rest of her life living in that moment, feeling those things...until she died.  I won't tell you what she chose -- read the book.

This naturally led me to start thinking if given the choice, what "moment" would I choose.  When I sat down to start thinking about it I figured it would be easy, but I was wrong.  It's certainly easy to think of great moments in your life, though not all of them.  What is much more difficult is thinking of one so great, so fulfilling, so happy...that you'd be willing to live it forever.  Just think that'd have to live it forever.

With that in mind, I came up with three possibilities.  Don't worry, they are all PG-13 and below.

My first isn't a moment, it is a week.  It was 1996, I was twelve and my family went on a cruise with several other families we knew.  Each of these families had several children of their own and we all stuck together throughout the trip.  I was twelve and so was a buddy of mine there.  He had two older was fifteen and one was eighteen.  There was another family there with a couple of sons who were around fifteen and seventeen.

Despite the age disparities we all stuck together and traveled as a group. As was typical with my parents we boarded the boat, on I guess a Sunday (do cruises start on Sundays?) and said see you Saturday.  Our group spent the rest of the week carousing the clubs, Jacuzzi's, swimming pools, restaurants, etc.

What I recall most was a girl we met on the boat.  She was around seventeen or eighteen.  In fact, she spent the week sleeping with one of my friends who became her sort of "cruise boyfriend".  I forget her name but I can picture her like it was yesterday.  She was kinda short, which was about the same height as me at the time.  She was dark, dark tan with beautiful long brown hair and an incredible body.  It was a cruise so she wore only a bathing suit and short jean shorts all week long.

It was special because while Dennis (the older friend) was her "cruise boyfriend" she kind of took me under her wing and pretended I was her other little cruise boyfriend.  Now, of course she wasn't actually treating me like she did Dennis, I was after all twelve...but she taught me a lot and made me feel really special.  I hadn't had confidence like that in all my life.  I did things that week that I'd never done before.  I sang karaoke, I stayed out until 3 in the morning with groups of grown girls, smoked a Cuban cigar, I kissed a girl unprompted for the first time, and I'm pretty sure she put me through puberty in one week.

She showed me things that I hadn't known before.  She triggered my interest in women and taught the introductory things a boy needed to know.  Yes, I was incredibly attracted to her...but it was more than that.  She made me feel better about myself.  And I think I could spend the rest of my life on that boat with her.

My second is closer to a moment.  I remember a morning in bed with my then girlfriend.  I will not mention which one it is.  I am a bit of a deep sleeper.  It is difficult to wake me up in the morning.  The only way to successfully do it without getting unconsciously swung at is by moving my head.  Just jostle my head a little and I'll wake up.  What this makes possible is movement, motion and sound without me waking up.

However, this morning I did wake up...I just didn't open my eyes or move for a while.  I suppose I wanted to enjoy the morning coze a little bit longer.  What I didn't expect was what is perhaps the sweetest thing that has ever been done for me.

She, believing fully that I was asleep, rolled over and laid on her elbow so that her head was off the bed and hovering above mine.  She kept a hand free and stroked by hair.  As she did this she started whispering to me.  She told me how she loved me so much it hurt some times.  She told me that she would do anything for me and that me being happy was all that she wanted.  She said that no matter how tough things got, no matter how hard anything ever seemed that we would get through it. She told me she'd never let me leave her.  She told me she sometimes worried that she isn't enough, but that she always had and always will, try her best.  For the first time in our relationship, she completely opened up and became that sap that already was, and she never could be.

I laid there for a few more minutes pretending to sleep and gathering myself.  After a while I pretended to wake up.  I didn't want her to know I was listening.  She would have been embarrassed.  I never told her that I heard what she said.  I hope she gets to read this so she can know I was listening.  I think I could live those thirty second for the rest of my life.

My final one involves my last girlfriend.  We met in 2008 on a law school softball trip to Virginia.  We were to ride in the same truck with three of our classmates for the seven-eight hour drive.  I remember, prior to meeting her, the driver actually gave me his phone so I could call her to tell her to come down to the truck.  It was the first time we spoke.

I am of the taller variety and everyone else in the car was not.  I thought this entitled me to shotgun since I'd need to stretch out my legs and back.  Another friend of mine, Dan, didn't agree.  He threw a kinda fake, kinda not fake hissy fit and sat on the sidewalk saying he wouldn't get in until I got in the back seat.  I didn't feel like dealing with this, so I obliged and went into the to her.  I suppose I have him to thank for everything that has transpired since.

The first thing I noticed about her was her grey-blue eyes.  Then I realized she was a living replica of Aphrodite from Botticelli's Birth of Venus (a nickname that lasted).  I was intrigued.

We spent the next seven and a half hours flirting playfully.  We didn't stop laughing the whole time.  She told me about her Rangers fandom, which I am too...and how she was a Padre and Chargers fan.  After she got knocked out of a geography based car game...she helped me cheat by looking up answers on her blackberry and flashing them to me when it was my turn.  When my back started hurting after hour 4 and I leaned forward to put my head between my knees to stretch...she started rubbing my back for me.

Then we arrived at the softball tournament and we never left each others side.  We warmed up before games together, had catches, drank beers, nurtured various clumsy injuries and ate together.  I remember her fixing my hair for me Saturday night before we left for the bar.

By the time the ride home started on Sunday we knew what was going on.  She drove the first couple of hours on the way home while I slept in the back seat.  Then she switched to the back seat next to me.  We spent the next 5 hours holding hands and sleeping on each others shoulders.  We didn't stop for two and a half years.

I think I could ride in that car for the rest of my life.

So those are my moments.  I honestly can't say for certain which one I would choose.  Perhaps you can help me figure it out.  I would also love to hear what you might choose as your eternal moment.  The place where you would stay for the rest of your life if you could.


Nevillem said...

I had a moment very similar to your third one (but took place on a boat, so almost like the first one too, but not quite).

A few years ago I was on a trip with my family, and some old family friends. I have two younger brothers, and my mom's friend has three daughters, and we're all around the same age. I guess you can see where this is going.

We were on an all day fishing trip somewhere in Finland (that's where my mom and her friend is from). The daughter who is my age and I have always been close, and if we didn't live on different continents, something long-term definitely would have happened. As it happens, we're just good friends (even to this day, where she's engaged and I'm in a steady relationship).

That particular day I wasn't feeling good, so I was below deck and trying not to get sick. Instead of ignoring me, my friend stayed with me the entire time, joked around, made me forget I was feeling sick, and to make a long story short, we ended the day sitting on the deck holding hands as the boat made it's way back to the dock.

Later that night we ended up making out, but that's not the best part. The best part was on the boat, just the two of us, her helping me make the most of an otherwise crappy day.

AmyIrenie said...

You...are a wonderful writer. I just added this book to my library list. I like your moments. I think I would choose the first for you. It was a time of unbridled pre-teen exploration. It's interesting to me that they all involve women. Not in the "I am man. I picked top 3 seksi times." But in a way that opened your heart and your eyes.

I've been thinking for 10 minutes now about my moment... I lost my mom to cancer closing in on 5 years ago. She was my everything. Immediately following her diagnosis I dropped out of school (bye bye law school) and moved to be with her. It was just the two of us. The moment would be one night about 3 months after we found out. She was feeling good so we decided to venture out. We had thai food for lunch-the hotter the better, manicures and pedicures, went to the apple store to buy her an ipod so she could listen to music during chemo, then came home so she could nap. When she woke up, I asked her what she would like for dinner. The request was our favorite comfort food, we called it "Shipwrecked" and it was a bag of tortilla chips, hamburger, black beans, corn, salsa, refried beans and lots of cheese thrown in a casserole dish and baked. We stayed up all night laughing and crying. We went through my baby book. She told me all her hopes and dreams for me. She promised me she wasn't going anywhere, but when the day comes to please not be sad and to go be the woman she had envisioned I would become... I think I fell asleep in her bed with her rubbing my arms and singing to me like when I was little. Now I'm crying. lol. I had another idea for a moment, but it was about a boy who so badly broke my heart. Nothing can top time with mom...

Anonymous said...

it's interesting that all of yours involve lady friends. neither of mine involve manfriends.

the summer i was 16 i was horse showing and riding all day every day. after riding 5 or 6 horses we'd go to sonic, get strawberry limeades, go back to barn, lay in the bed of my truck, and watch the sun set from the pasture. the world felt infinite, possibilities endless, and the clearest proof of meaning surrounded us. i will never ever forget that.

i think the feeling of possibility and hope resonates with all of us. maybe why the beginning of relationships are so fantastic?

JoshueTree said...

@ Neville

The simpler the better, right? It just doesn't get any better than a girl who cares.

@amy or Irene?

That was lovely. Thank you for that. I'm lucky enough not to have suffered a situation such as that one. But it sounds like you made those days wonderful for her.

All these moments eventually broke my heart. #1 I never saw again. #2 I won't discuss. #3 is still breaking my heart.


I agree. I really love yours. I had a moment with sun set, in st. thomas...with #3 --- it would be in the top ten.

Sarah said...

You are an excellent writer!

And I agree that it is interesting that all your moments involve girlfriends. I have some moments that involve boyfriends, but they are farther down the list from the ones that are with my friends (platonic).

In high school my friends and I were on the speech and debate team, and we all made it to Nationals in New York City. We were going to take the city by Storm! After the first night only one of us broke to the next rounds, so she went to bed early. The rest of us started inviting random people (mostly boys) to our room to hang out. We were loud and obnoxious, laughing all night. We didn't get to bed until 5AM, and we were supposed to be up at breakfast at 930 in order to go on a walking tour with one of our coaches. The feeling that we were doing something wrong (which we really weren't - everyone's jammies stayed completely on all night), but that we were all complicit AND we got co-conspirators in with us who had never met us before that night gave us this awesome feeling of power and happiness.

I'm lucky in that most of my friend gatherings ultimately devolve into uncontrollable laughter.

BourbonGirlBen said...

I have to say, I thought about it quite a lot last night and came to the realization that, though I have many fond memories, I don’t have a particular moment or time frame worth repeating forever. At this point I fall on the other side of the fence—choosing to go forward and continue living my life. Perhaps it is sad that none of my moments are deemed worthy of an infinite loop. On the other hand, I like to think I have yet to live them.