As a young girl, I would fanaticize of romantic getaways, travel, with a male partner. I vividly recall inventing an entire excursion in my thoughts prior to sleep. If an actual date was planned, each detail would play inside my head like a movie. Often times, I would grow so consumed with anticipation, I would look forward to the evening time, the time in which I was able to design the future date while marking through another calendar date. Of course, anticipation breeds expectation. Sometimes the actual date would prove to be less spectacular than imagined. As an adult, “real” life moves at a much faster pace and somewhere along the line, I began neglecting my imagination all together. Still, the anticipation remains.
In early March, Steven invited me to go to Orange Beach with him and another couple. Elated, I accepted. Within hours, he called to “Indian-give” his offer while replacing it with a better invitation, “I can’t go to Orange Beach due to prior obligation, but now I am thinking about the beach and I’d like to go at a different time. You?” I said, “Sure. When and with whom (like I cared?)” Then he made my day, “Three weeks? Just us?” The following day, we reserved a condo in Destin, Florida.
The anticipation immediately kicked in. The notion of the beach, him, a week without work, the beach, him entered and the countdown began. Steven and I had lunch together the day before we planned on leaving and I said, “I wish we were leaving tonight instead.” He agreed and so, we decided to leave later that evening.
With Steven. Taken on the balcony outside our condo.
Several friends advised me, “Road trips prove a great deal. Whether or not you’re able to survive in a car together for many hours will tell you lots.” The road trip was easy. Steven allowed my music to serve as the background soundtrack . Music is a connector to the past for me and several songs sparked old memories dating back to the young girl who lived within her head. Hearing him involuntarily sing “What’s love got to do, got to do with it?” induced a silent smile. He’d probably deny it now, which is fine. It makes the memory all mine. We filled the space with equal parts silence and conversation. Ten hours in a car with him passed like minutes.
The trip itself was better than imagined. The water was clear and seaweed free and the sand was pearl white. The city itself has changed since my last visit, which was years ago, pre-hurricanes. The water was cold enough to cause a person to go into cardiac arrest, but I swam anyway. We both refused to plan. Each day was a clean slate, free of “to do” lists. We were allowed to actually rest, to revel in the idle. A rarity enabling the heart an exhale. I wish we were still there.
While driving home, Steven mentioned stopping by a casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi to have “dinner.” Both of us aware of the real intent, to gamble and stay the night in another strange bed. I learned yet again, Black Jack is not my friend! My friend Heidi told me, “Worry not of the money lost and rather, embrace the recognition of making memories.” And so, I took her advice.
It’s valuable to discover a long ride in a small car is not so bad with the right person. I assure you, riding in the car was never a chapter in my childhood fantasy bank, though I must confess, the twenty hours in the car may very well be my favorite part of the trip. We’re already discussing beach trip #2, but I’d love to share Chicago with Steven. He has never been. He’s explored the idea of driving and visiting all of the United States this summer. I will encourage him to skip Chicago, but if he can’t wait, at least we have our 569 miles.
Steven with Steve McNair, former NFL Quarterback. Destin, FL
Nothing beats a Florida Sunset.
I love the contrast of red/white against the aqua. Destin, FL.