Summer Dusk

a romance

Dear Diary,

So, another year of school is over and done.  And it’s time to say goodbye.  Goodbye.

I don’t want to say goodbye to Jessie.  It just gets me started thinking about next year when Paul and Sharon are gonna graduate.  Graduate.  Which means after that, the rest of us graduate and that’s it, we’ll have had this short time where we’re all together and then we’ll all have nothing.  It’s bad enough floating down I-5 to Coronado to start another summer.  I don’t want to think about saying goodbye to everyone, don’t want to think about what happens, when we all have to go away and live different lives.

It was hard to watch last night.  It may have been the most romantic thing I have seen coupled with the saddest moment I have ever witnessed all at the same time.  Jess was headed out the door, then she turned and ran back into Bruce’s arms and then they were kissing, so passionately, so desperately, and then she was out the door and the look in his eyes as he watched her go just made my heart break.

And now she’s gone.  I had lunch with her and her parents today and then she was gone and I don’t know if I’ll ever see her again.  By this time next year, she’ll be finishing her first year in Boston and I’ll be here saying goodbye to Paul and Sharon.  This is just the start of a very bad cycle.

Bruce has his kiss to keep him warm.  From Jess, I get no such thing, just memories of what we had as roommates, times to hold on to as I proceed to my own kiss.  A few more hours and Sean gets in a car and heads back towards Seattle.  And what do I say to him?  How do I say how much I love him and then say goodbye for a few months?  It doesn’t seem like it was this hard last year to let him go.

I suppose I could talk to Bruce, get some idea of what he did.  But he was saying goodbye for good and I’m not.  And I don’t think he really did say goodbye.  I think he holds out some hope that she’ll be back in the fall.  I wonder if maybe Jess never should have gotten involved with him.  But I remember the look in his eyes when the fire alarm went off and she leapt into his arms.  I don’t think he wanted to let her go even then, that first minute when they met.

Now it’s time to go make the rounds, I guess.  Jess is gone.  I think Kyle’s taking Bruce back home before he goes back to SF later today.  Two more years with most of them.  I guess I make the most of it.

Love,
Rachel – 5/17


21 May

So here I am, back in a world I thought, nine months ago, I might not ever have to come back to.  Damn, that doesn’t sound good at all.  Doesn’t sound right.  But nothing about Bellevue is right anymore.  I wish I could have found something to keep me in the Oaks for the summer and not have had to come back.  Five years ago, this might have been my home.  But that was before my mother died.  That was before I went away and found myself in the Oaks.  Before I found Rachel in the Oaks.

It wasn’t so hard last year, wasn’t as much of an issue to turn around and come home and spend a few months hanging around, making the time pass.  This time, well this time Rachel can’t escape my thoughts.  We were together last year but this year feels so much different.  She is the most important part of my life right now, important enough to make me start writing in a journal again after all these years, a companion piece, I guess, to that diary of hers, which I feel strange even knowing about, let alone having read some of it.

What is it about her?  It’s not just that she’s stunningly beautiful, five six, long red hair, beautiful green eyes, a nice soft stomach, fantastic body, slender, beautiful legs.  But she’s intelligent, she is funny, she is creative, carefree, sensitive.  She’s an ancient goddess come to life in a body that defies belief.

That sounds so fucking stupid, words said before – written in the unsteady hand of a person in love, spoken in the whispers that haunt the hall at night.  It doesn’t tell anything about her.  Nothing about her.

When she’s embarrassed she doesn’t blush.  Her mouth drops open a little and she can’t say anything.  This little moan, similar to the one she gives when you touch her just right escapes her mouth and you know that if she were anyone else she would look like a tomato just then.  When you put your head to her breast you can hear her heart beating and you know that the person she is keeps it going.  Sometimes I lie awake at night and listen to the beating of her heart, the dreams flowing into her head.  To get her to screw up at tennis, to actually get her to start cussing like Paul, hit the outside corner on her left.  She has no backhand and she can’t get over there fast enough to make the shot.  Keep using that shot and she’s toast.  But get her in the water and you will never catch her, as her effortless grace brings out a speed you can’t imagine.

So, who is Rachel Darcy?  What kind of person will you find beneath the golden skin?  When you know her, you find answers.  Watch the expression on her face as the opening notes of “Let it Be” are played.  Watch as the goosebumps form on her legs.  Watch her eyes when Audrey Hepburn sets the poor nameless cat out in the rain, watch as the tears begin to form.  Watch the soft smile on her face every time we see Harrison Ford come across the screen and her thoughts drift to her father and memories she will never have possession of, the hole that was left in her life when his plane exploded in the air above Vietnam.  Watch her and you will know her, for she feels no need to hide her emotions away, does not follow the advice of Paul and his little apprentice, Jim.  Like everyone else, when you know her, you will fall in love.  How could you not fall in love with her?

SC


27 May

The news these days comes stranger than we can ever expect.

We’re moving.

It’s that simple.  Grandpa has decided that he and Grandma would be better served in something near the rest of the family instead of staying up here in Bellevue so they’re moving back down to El Paso.  The only reason they’ve stayed here for the last five years anyway was all because of me.  I took them away from the life they knew for so long, all because they didn’t want to take me away from the only life I had ever known.  If that isn’t selflessness then somewhere along the way I lost sight of what the word means.

So now I’ve got two weeks while they settle on the house and get things packed up for the move down to Texas.

I walked through the house today and all it felt of was emptiness.  Everything about life seems so distant.  Friends from high school disappear into the back burners of my memory.  Jake’s at Harvard, I think.  I’m not sure whether he’s been sticking it out there or not.  John went into the Army, Jason into the Air Force.  And Karla?  Well, hell, Karla hasn’t been a part of my life for years.  And so the five of us pass into memory, much as everyone else has.  Dave has his own life down in Tacoma now.  Haven’t seen much of him since Mom died anyway.

I look at the house, the way it’s been for the past few years and I find myself remembering the times that used to matter so much, the people I used to love.  But that all faded away two years ago when we all left school and went out to find our own lives.  There are some piles of boxes in the garage, waiting for me to get started on stuff that will be shipped to El Paso.  Then what?  They’ve said I can do what I want, that I’m welcome with them in El Paso but there’s no way in hell I want to move to Texas.

One last time, I’ll walk down Puget Road.  I’ll look at the places I used to go to, the places where so much of my life seemed to matter, where all my innocence slipped away in between the fears of the Cold and the Gulf Wars and the games of truth and dare.  Then I can start packing up my life and trying to decide where I’ll ship it.

SC


Dear Diary,

I talked to Sean today.  I can hardly believe it.  He’s moving.  He’s leaving Bellevue and he doesn’t even know where he’s gonna go!  I can’t imagine ever having to leave Coronado.  I know I kept writing things about not wanting to come home, but it was just that I didn’t want to leave my friends.  I didn’t want to leave Sean.  I can’t think of leaving Coronado for good.  I can’t imagine how Sean must feel.

I miss him so much and it hurts to hear his voice and not to be able to feel him by my side.  That’s where he should be, not 1500 miles away in another state trying to decide what he’s going to do with his life.

I saw Carlos and Sherilyn today.  God, it’s good to see old friends even if Sean is far away.  They’re the only thing I have which keeps me sane.  The three of us ran over to Star Park.  It felt good to play on the cannons and to fall on the grass.  For so long at the end of school, and then again last summer, it was the beach or San Diego or nothing.  I grew up in Star Park, I took my first steps there, I had my first kiss there.  That park is a part of me.  I can’t imagine every having to say goodbye to it.  I’ll get married there if I can.  Married there and honeymoon in the Hotel Del, another place I’ve been to so many times I’ve lost track and they all blend together in my head.

What is it about this city?  It hurts to come home but only because I miss the others so much.  I still love Coronado.  It’s still my home.  But Seattle isn’t really Sean’s home anymore.  I can’t imagine what that would be like: the lose yourself entirely and find yourself a wanderer, with no place to call your own.

Love,
Rachel – 5/28


1 June

The answer’s come and like so many other answers in my life, come from love.  It’s an answer I wouldn’t have thought of on my own.  Will I have to spend the rest of my life as a bystander to every important decision?

Will I move to Coronado?

I don’t know.  Should I move to Coronado?  Rachel asked last night on the phone, said, come live with me and be my love, or something like that, mentioned that the house is big, that her mother doesn’t mind.  One block from the beach, a smalltown that holds onto its smalltown atmosphere but just across the bay from a major city, seventh largest city in the country last time I checked.  Blue skies.  The beautiful California summer.  The girl I love, right down the hall from me for the rest of the summer.  For the rest of my life?

How can I say no to this?  All things considered, how can things go wrong?  Maybe things will backfire, something will happen between us, but I love her, I know she loves me and if I really want to marry her there’s no time like the present for finding out exactly what she’s like to live with outside the dorm.  Am I imposing?  It wasn’t my idea and if I were imposing, Mrs. Darcy would have just said no.  Can I deal with this?  I can fucking learn to deal with it.  What’s the answer?  I can’t see anything but yes coming out of this debate.  Tonight when I talk to her, I’ll say, I love you, I want to be close to you, yes, I will come.

SC


Dear Diary,

Oh God, oh God.  He’s coming tonight.  Well, he’ll be coming tonight, I’m gonna make certain of that, but we’ll have to work around my mom for that.  But he’s going to be here soon.  What time is it?  Oh God.  It’s 6:15.  I have to leave for the airport in a half hour.  I can’t believe it.  I’m gonna see him, gonna hold him, gonna make love to him the first chance I get.

The second he gets off the plane I’m gonna sprint across the terminal and leap into his arms.  I’m gonna kiss him and hold him and tell him how much I love him and that I never want him to leave me again.

Is that sounding like a marriage proposal?  I’m not sure if I’m supposed to ask him, but if I have to someday, I will.  I want to marry Sean, I will marry him if I have any say in it.  He said that bit to me after what happened with Michelle about having kids.  I’m gonna hold him to that.  I want to have his children and lie beside him in bed every night from here to eternity.  Is that what they call love?  If it isn’t, well then I really don’t care.  It’s good enough for me.

Oh shit.  I can’t keep writing.  My hand is becoming so unsteady, it’s unbelievable.  I love him.  I know that.  I’m going to make sure he knows that.  That’s what it’s all about and anyone who says otherwise is either a liar or a fool and I don’t care which.

Love,
Rachel  –  6/5


Dear Diary,

I saw him.  He looked just the same.  Well, it’s only a couple of weeks, but still.  Not a single thing had changed and I realized how much I loved him.  I ran to him and leapt into his arms.  God, did I get the strangest looks from some of the people at Lindbergh Field but then again I also got a lot of claps as I stood there and kissed him in front of all the other passengers.

Right now, Sean is still asleep.  He’s in Lynn’s old room, just through the door from my room.  God, that makes me so nervous.  I can just open the door and there’s the guy I love.  Does my mom trust me this much?  I wonder what she thinks.  I think I’ve told her that I sleep in Sean’s room a lot.  Or maybe Jessie told her on one of the nights when she called me and I wasn’t there at an hour when I should have been.  But does she know I really sleep with him?  Or what?

I don’t know.  I don’t care.  I love him and I don’t care what she thinks.  It’s not her life.  Sad to say, but she had her time, a long time ago.  I’m sad that Dad is dead.  But Mom chose not to replace him and now, she doesn’t have the right to . . .  Oh God!  I can’t believe this is happening.  My mom trusts me.  If she didn’t she wouldn’t have agreed to this.  Or maybe there’s another reason.

Maybe she just wants to give me the freedom she never gave Lynn, the kind of things that drove Lynn out of the house and has kept her from ever coming back.  She knows that having Sean here makes me happy.  God, I love you Mom.  I hope someday you can see this and know that I know, that I understand and that I love you so much.

Love,
Rachel  –  6/6


Dear Diary,

I think that Sean is still a bit nervous about being here.  I introduced him to Carlos and Sherilyn today.  He was polite but it wasn’ t the kind of friendliness that I’ve seen in him at school.  They couldn’t tell, but I could.  I know him.  Kevin would have seen it.  Kyle too, probably.  They would have noticed the distant look in his eyes.  He won’t ever be good friends with Carlos and Sherilyn.  I don’t think it’s because of them.  I think he liked them fine.  I think he wants it to just be us.  Our summer?  Is that what this is going to be?  Just the two of us – together for the whole summer with no one else?  It’s a scary thought.  But a beautiful thought.  Kissing him in the moonlight down on the beach.  Feeling him give me a back rub in the hot summer sun while lying on the grass in Star Park.  Holding him close and watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.  I can deal with that.

Love,
Rachel  –  6/8


8 June

I’m in a world that I don’t quite fit into.  This is Rachel’s world.  Carlos.  Sherilyn.  They’re both nice.  But they’re not a part of me.  They’re not a part of the group.

Rachel.  Kevin.  Kate.  Kyle.  Paul.  Bruce.  Michelle.  Jenn.  Others as well, Jim, Sarah.  Jeff maybe, and he lives in San Diego, so maybe we’ll see him.  And Jess before.  Will be weird to not have her always around, but since Rachel will have a single next year, that’s not such a bad thing.

But those people are a part of my soul.  They are situated firmly in my heart.  Carlos and Sherilyn aren’t part of that.  They’re just the temporary stop-gaps for the summer as I try to ease the pain of leaving one home and finding another.  It makes me wonder what comes next after the Oaks.  Come back here?  It’s certainly what Rachel will want.

Oh shit.  I’m romanticizing.  I swore to myself, I swore it God damn it, that I would never do that, never look back on anything and romanticize it, never make it to be any more than it was supposed to be.  Bellevue wasn’t home, not by the time I left it, it really stopped when my mother died.  And it certainly wasn’t by the end.  So what pain was there in leaving that house?  I can stay here and be happy with Rachel.

I can hear the shower going and it’s driving me nuts.  Not the endless pounding of the water, the rushing of the flow through the pipes.  It’s not the sound.  It’s the thought.  Her standing there, so tan, so beautiful, with the water flowing down all around her.  I can almost see her red hair wrapped around her, as I’ve seen it before in the pouring water, when we got that hotel in SF.  That’s the worst about the dorms – you can sleep with someone but showering with someone is hard to pull off.  But I can picture her.  I can almost reach out and touch her, feel her against me.

SC


Dear Diary,

Okay.  Birthday sex is the best.  That’s what I’ve decided.  You can do whatever you want to bring the body to orgasm the other 364 days of the year but birthday sex has everything beat.

I guess I should just say it was a great birthday and leave it at that.  It’s still hard to believe I’m twenty.

Okay, I’m not leaving it at that.  Just before dawn and I hear a whispering in my ear, soft little words that say ‘arise fair princess’ and I open my eyes and there’s my lover in front of me, smiling.  That alone would have been a great way to have a birthday but that was just the start.

It was like that first moment we met, when all he said was “Sean, Bellevue, Raiders of the Lost Ark” but he was so cute, five seven, dark red hair, dark tan skin and he was sitting next to me and I said “Rachel, Coronado, Raiders of the Lost Ark” and everything seemed to fall into place all in one minute.

He took me by the hand (this morning, and I guess the first time we met, but I’m talking about this morning here) and lead me down to Harbor View Park, one of those parks I never really thought much about, just another of the small little parks that line the bay side of the island, oh, sorry, peninsula.  We sat there as the sand slowly began to warm and he didn’t say anything, just turned as the sun started to come up and kissed me, not one of his strong kisses, the ones that can take your breath away, just a soft simple kiss, something you’d imagine Bruce giving.

Now why did I write that?  Bruce?  Have I been having thoughts I never could have imagined?  Bruce?  He’s so quiet and it was so strange that he was so determined to be in love with Jess when she was already headed out the door to Boston.  I mean, he’s great and nice but, well, shit I don’t know.  I don’t want to think about it.  I want to think about today.

cabrillobridge2And there’s so much to think about.  Lunch in Balboa Park, laughing at the animals.  Walking on the bridge I love so much (I even decided to paste a picture in!).  Walking on the shore at the Point with the sun starting to set.  Back to the park for a wonderful round of sex hiding behind the bushes, all alone in the park.  A nice walk back down through the high school, flirting and kissing on the swingset.

Heaven.

Love,
Rachel – 6/16


Dear Diary,

“When you’re following an angel, does it mean you have to throw your body off a building?  Somewhere they’re meeting on a pinhead, calling you an angel, calling you the nicest things.”

It’s a weird song.  But I can’t get it out of my mind.  Sean’s been singing it for the past two days.  It’s one of his favorite songs.  I’ve never really understood the attraction.  They Might Be Giants are such a strange group.  I like normal groups.  Normal songs.  “Mrs Robinson”, greatest song ever.  “Piano Man”.  I can understand what that’s about.  That song they’ve been playing on the radio, “You Ought to Know”, the really angry one, I can understand here, can see where her anger comes from, where her passions lie.  But nothing that They Might Be Giants has written has ever made sense to me.  They’re like R.E.M. or a lot of the solo Paul Simon songs.  Nonsensical.

Oh God.  I’m starting to sound like a music critic.  That’s not the point.  Anyway, I don’t like it when Sean decides to take digs at my Eagles albums, so I really shouldn’t say anything.

Still, it could be worse.  Being annoyed by music isn’t so bad considering we’ve been living five feet apart for three weeks.  And besides, we’ll have to get used to living with each other’s imperfections, since we will be . . .  Oh God.  I can’t say that yet.  I can’t even think it.  I want to be with him.  We’ve already explored the sexual boundaries, touching and feeling and penetrating in every and any way we can think of.  Isn’t this just the next logical move?  Why not?

It’s no good.  I can ask the question a thousand times and God is not going to come down from heaven to give me the answer.   I just have to find the answers on my own or try to get by without the answers.

Love,
Rachel  –  6/24


28 June

She sees her father on the screen.  Is that why Rachel loves Raiders so much?  It’s my favorite movie because of the music, because of the humor, because of the adventure.  Rachel loves all of those things as well.  But is it also because Harrison Ford looks so much like her father did?  Does she see him in Indiana Jones every time he smiles and rattles off another great line?

But what about his father?  My dad, even when he was around, never had much use for his parents.  But my mother’s parents raised me.  Rachel knows her mom’s parents but her mom won’t even speak to her about her dad’s parents.  She’s fairly sure her grandmother is no longer alive, but she’s not certain about her grandfather and she’s never been able to find out anything.  Her sister used it as another fight with her mother, but she took that fight with her when she left the house.  So all she can do is wonder.  Did her grandfather look like Harrison Ford as well?  Was he a pilot like his son?  Did he fight in a war?  She just wants to know and she knows her mother won’t answer the questions.  So is it wrong to pursue this?

I’ve gone ahead and put it in front of Kyle.  Kyle likes to think he’s Batman, likes to think that he’ll be able to answer any mystery, that he will be God’s gift to law enforcement.  So let him solve this mystery.  Who was Rachel’s grandfather?  Who was this elusive elder Darcy that has eluded her for all her life?

SC


3 July

This weekend, this whole time right now is supposed to be one of the best times of the summer.  Around the country, some 300 million people are having the times of their lives, getting ready for the barbeques and the fireworks.  Isn’t that what the holiday is supposed to be about?  It’s not supposed to be about pain, about loss.  Not anymore.  That’s Memorial Day.  That’s Veterans Day.  Not today.  But it hurts.  Grandpa is dead.

I got the call just an hour ago and I’m writing now because it helps to hold back the tears.  Rachel doesn’t know yet.  She and Sherrilyn are in San Diego getting some stuff for tomorrow night, provided it doesn’t rain.  The rain’s been pouring all day.  Some way to spend the Fourth of July.  Some way to spend a birthday.

Thomas Cronin.  He was born in 1922, a peace-loving man who went to war and spent the rest of his life trying to keep people away from it.  He was on that beach in Normandy and never wanted anyone else to get through that again.  A caring father who tried his best to keep his children safe and when his daughter died of cancer he came to her child’s aid, becoming a new father to a kid who lost his mother and had been abandoned by both father and brother.  My real father.  I don’t care what a biologist would say.  He was my real father.

He died in his sleep, peacefully, last night.  There’s not even going to be a funeral, just a small ceremony while his ashes are scattered across the Rio Grande, the river he grew up in sight of.  From the river he came, to the river he goes.  Goodbye, Grandpa.  I love you.

Sean Michael Carlton
3 July, 1995


Dear Diary,

Who do pain and pleasure come together so often?  Why does the worst news have to come during what is supposed to be the best of times?  And how can good things come to counteract the bad?

I must have come home around noon.  The rain was still pouring outside but Sherilyn and I were both happy.  We had gotten everything we needed for the big Fourth of July party we’ve been planning for after the Parade (if it ever stops raining).  But as I left Sherilyn and walked inside, I knew something was wrong.  I heard the sobs as I walked through the door, even though the sound of the rain pouring down on the roof.  I walked through the living room and into the room that my father used as an office before I was born, the room that Sean has kind of taken as his own.  I saw him sitting there in the chair that used to look so big when I was a little girl and my uncles would sit there and I saw him doing something that I had never seen him do before.  He was crying.

I said his name softly and when he looked up at me, oh God (do I write that a lot, it seems sometimes like it’s all I ever say in here), I thought the world was ending.  He looked like a ghost, like someone who had lost everything that was important in his life.  And maybe in a way, he had.  He lost his grandfather.  But that took a little while for me to find out, as I had to slowly pull it out of him.  And when I did, I didn’t know what to do.  I sat down on the cold floor and just stared at him as the tears continued to fall from his eyes, louder and colder than the raindrops outside.  Then I had the idea of what to do, how to talk to him.

I took his hand.  He started to pull back, but stopped when he looked into my eyes.  It was the look he gave me, so long ago, when he first took my hand.  But this time it was me reaching out, it was my hand being offered.  He took my hand and he handed himself over to me.  (note to self: that sounded dumb)

The rain came pouring down all around us.  My hair fell out of my scrunchie and down around my shoulders.  He stared at me in silence as I started to walk backwards and draw him towards me, through the rain, motioning the way he did the first time we took the dance floor, “All I Want is You” blasting from the speakers, everyone watching us take over the spotlight.  This time there was no spotlight.  But he followed just the same.

One hundred yards.  That’s how far it is from my house to Star Park.  Carlos measured it once, just for fun.  I know it well enough, making this run since I was old enough to walk.  But no run like this one.

2005-12-29-down-lomaAt the park, I brought him over to the tree on the western edge.  I sat him up on the main branch, the one where you can look out and see the ocean (I’m leaving space to paste in a picture).

“You know, I grew up here.  This park, those cannons, these are all parts of me in much the same way that house is.  I remember my mother bringing me here when I was a little girl and she sat me up in this tree and she pointed west, and she explained that across that ocean was a land called Vietnam and that my father had died there.  And that was when I understood that there was a part of my life I wasn’t going to ever connect to.”

I looked down at him, but he still didn’t say anything.  I looked into his eyes and saw the sadness and hurt, so painful that I almost began to cry myself.  But his tears had finally come to a pause, so I forced myself to go on.

“I know you’ve been through a horrible thing today, something that makes you want to shut down and push everything away.  But I want you to know, I need you to know, I love you.  I want this place to become a part of you.  I want you to feel like you can come to this park and and feel at ease.  I want you to stay here for the rest of your life, if not in body, then in memory.  I want this place to mean something to you.”  He put his finger up then, pressed it softly to my lips.

“You don’t have to say anything more, Red.”  He looked at me then and I think it came to him, everything made sense to both of us and he leaned forward and we kissed in the cold and the pouring rain and it seemed that it was just a nice way to fight the pain.

But the real surprise came later.

After a while, we walked back together, slowly, quietly, just trying to learn what comes next.  And I was about ten yards away when I noticed a car parked in front of my house.  And I knew the car, that ridiculous black Mustang that all the guys think is God’s gift to cars.  And I looked at Sean and he looked as confused as I was.  Then we looked at my porch and saw the three of them sitting together.

“I thought this was supposed to be an everlasting fucking paradise,” Paul yelled as he leapt down the steps, followed by Kyle and Kevin.

“What are you guys doing here?” I asked.

“We were in the neighborhood, thought we would drop in for some friendly neighborhood fireworks,” Kyle replied.

“Presuming you two are providing the fireworks,” Kevin added with a smile.

“Oh, I think little Rachel D’s hot pink bra provides all the fireworks anyone needs,” Paul said, staring at my chest and I realized that with my shirt soaking wet from the rain, it was basically see-through.  But that was all we needed.  Just like that, things were better.  I don’t know what Sean ended up telling them later.  I’m sure he’ll tell Kevin before they leave, if no one else.  And I can’t believe that after all the fights that Mom had with Lynn that she’s letting four of my friends stay here tonight.  I can’t believe they drove down.  I can’t believe any of this.  But you take the good with the bad and sometimes things will start to even out.

Love,
Rachel  –  7/3


Dear Diary,

Oh, what to say.  Another perfect Fourth of July.  The sun came out as the mist was lifting around eight.  Mom looked so beautiful on her float in the parade.  Thirty years.  God, she’s been out of high school for a long time now.  I can’t even imagine what it would be like.  I’ve been out for a whole two years and it feels like forever.

And Sean?  Well, he seemed a bit sad, but damn the guys timed their visit perfectly.  When they left this morning, it seemed like Sean had been smiling ever since they arrived.  We all get a little bit of luck in this world, a little bit just when we need it.

Love,
Rachel  –  7/5


19 July

So Kyle proved his stuff.  Pretty damn fast too, to have it with him on the 4th.  And I talked to Paul about it again last night.  So I decided I should talk to Mrs Darcy.  So I guess I’ll and try to reconstruct that conversation as best I can.

“Mrs. Darcy?”

“Yes?”

“Can we talk?  I’ve got something I want to talk to you about.”

“Okay.  Sit down, Sean.  What is it?”  I look at her, and after my grandfather’s death, she knew it was serious.  “Is anything wrong between you and Rachel?”  I felt the urge to smile but resisted.

“No.  It’s more something between you and Rachel.”  That got her attention right away.  After the way her older daughter, Lynn, left, I know she’s anxious to hold on tight to Rachel.

“Me and Rachel?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t know what you could be talking about.”

“I have learned something.  Something that I think Rachel should know.  But I need to make certain that you are okay with it.  And I don’t know that you are.”

“Could you be more specific?”

“There’s a man who lives on Carmelo St over on Point Loma.”  She looked up at me then.  It was a hurt look and I remember what Rachel hold told me about the way her mother talks about her father’s death.

“How did you find this out?”

“Our friend Kyle is very resourceful.”

“He must be.”

“I would like to tell her.”

“And then take her to meet him?”

“He is her grandfather.”

“You don’t understand, Sean.  You can’t understand.”

“Try me.”

“You are a very nice boy, Sean, but you are still quite young.  You didn’t see him talking to Rick, encouraging him to be a better and stronger man, how important it was for him to have his son follow in his footsteps.  He had been this officer in the navy, felt it was the only life worth living.  And he kept pushing Rick and in the end it was Rick who paid.  He pushed himself to be the best and he still couldn’t be any better then technology allowed him to be and when the plane got hit he went down with it.  And his damn father couldn’t understand how he had any responsibility for that, was so full of his God damn pride that he couldn’t see beyond how proud he had been of his son.  To him, it was an honor to be killed for your country.  But to me, it was just a life without my husband.  He as much as killed him.”

“I wouldn’t say that.”

“My husband is dead, Sean.  And no matter how long it has been, it still hurts.”

“I know.  I’ve seen the pictures of the funeral.  But does that mean his father killed him?  You made your peace with your husband’s death a long time ago.  We both know that.  Can you make your peace with his father?  If not for him, if not for your husband, if not even for me, then for Rachel?  He’s her grandfather.”

“He can’t replace her father in her life.”

“Maybe he can’t.  But maybe he can.  I haven’t seen my father in ten years and even when he was around he wasn’t much of one.  All I had was a mother who tried her best to keep her no good kids out of juvenile hall.  Then trying to keep her older one out of jail.  Then she got sick.  And this man I didn’t even hardly know, he picked up his life and moved thousands of miles to take care of his daughter’s kids.  And one of them was too fucking ungrateful and he ran out.  And so there was me and this old man.  That old man is the only reason I’m in college, the only reason I got to meet your daughter.  Except for Rachel, he was the best thing that ever happened to me.  My father took off.  And so this man came in and he was better than my father.  And then he died.  The best man I ever knew.  And he would have liked her grandfather.”

She pulled back sharply when I said that.

“You’ve met him?”

“I have.”

“And what did you see?”

“I saw a lonely old man who just wanted to talk about old times.  He has sat there across the bay for twenty years and he not interfered with your life or her life.  He has just watched and waited and hoped that maybe someday he could be something important for his granddaughters.  Well, Lynn is out the door.  You don’t have a whole lot of time left here.”

“It’s too late,” she said softly, tears in her eyes, trying to fight me, trying to remember all the reasons she had for not speaking to him for twenty years.  I looked her in the eyes and said the only thing I could think of to say.

“It is only too late when one of them is dead.  And people die everyday, die when you least expect it.  Do you want to wait for that to happen?  Wait until it really is too late?  She could figure it out eventually.  Kyle did.  Then she might realize what has happened and it might be too late, like it is with Lynn.  You have a chance to change that, to settle this on your own terms.  Don’t let it be too late.”

That was when Rachel walked in.  I hoped I would have more time but Rachel was back earlier than she had thought.  She froze when she saw us, me clearly being aggressive, her mother crying.  She didn’t seem to know whose side she should take.  She had come in the door happy and had frozen the second she saw me, perhaps thinking of my grandfather and the horrible depression that I had been spared by the arrival of Paul and the others.  And maybe I would have slipped down that way again if her mother hadn’t spoken up.

“Rachel, honey, Sean’s got something to talk to you about.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing is wrong.  You might be angry later, but I hope you’ll understand.”

“Mom, what’s going on?”

“You and Sean are going to go run an errand.  And you and I will talk when you get back.”

And that was all she would say.  Rachel stared at me and I tried to smile for her, gave her everything that I could, my best pale imitation of the smile Paul has that makes everyone feel at ease.  And it was good enough for her because she gave me a smile back, the smile on her lips from the first time we made love, a year and a half ago now.

“Come on, Red.  Let’s go.”

What happened next fell like something out of a movie.  Or a dream.  Seeing her walk slowly up the brick walk.  Seeing the look of surprise as he looked from her to me to her again.  Seeing the tears in both their eyes.  Well, maybe some of the pain from Grandpa’s death has drifted away.  I don’t know.  But they were happy.  And I was happy.

I miss you, Grandpa.

I love you.

SC


Dear Diary,

True love, I guess?  Can’t I say that and mean it and know he means it, that he believes it?  Is true love just for Westley and Buttercup or can we get in on that action too?  I mean, he only found my frigging grandfather, a grandfather I had never met, never been told about.

So, are there other contenders for true love?  Paul?  I guess he’s firmly with Sharon now.  They’re talking about coming to visit sometime in August.  But what about everything he did with Laura?  And Sarah?  I’ve heard Sarah’s excuses, that it was just experimenting, that they wanted some practice before finding their real partners for life, but I don’t know that I buy that.  And was that talking about her and Paul or her and Jim?  And besides, why would you give away something that beautiful in the name of experimentation?  And what about Kate?  Kate has some weird connection to Paul that I don’t understand, that she won’t tell me about.  And where does that leave Kate and Kevin?  They seem to love each other very much, perhaps as much as Sean and I, but what about this whole part of her life that Kate won’t seem to share with him?  I don’t know how you can hold things back and expect things to work.  Then there’s Jim and Tom and all the women they’ve been with.  There’s poor Bruce and the mess he’s got with Jessie, the mess I’ll likely have to help clean up when he comes back to school and she doesn’t.  And there’s Michelle.  She’s been isolated this summer.  Kyle said she didn’t want anyone to visit, even though she’s just a couple of hours away.  Kyle says she’s okay, she’s just coping with things on her own for a while.  I wonder if she won’t come back to the Oaks.  And for that matter, why is she so close to Kyle when he’s got Jenn, who’s only been Michelle’s frigging roommate.  That’s two friggings in one diary entry.  Maybe I should just cussing in these entries.

Are Kyle and Jenn love?  Are they true love?  He loves her, more purely than I could have imagined from him.  Or maybe I could have imagined it, that the cynical mask simply hides a romantic heart.  Paul always says a cynic is just a failed romantic.  Is there romance in Kyle’s soul?

Why am I even wondering?  Do I have a thing for Kyle?  First Bruce, and now Kyle?  Am I secretly in love with all of our friends?  Or is that the point of college?  That we fall in love with everyone?

Love,
Rachel  –  7/28


4 August

I found out she’s an angel.  I don’t think she knows I know.  I’m worried that something might happen to me if anyone ever finds out.  Why?  Why did they send her?  How should I react?  These things happen to other people.  They don’t happen at all.

I was never very religious when I was a kid, but somehow I found God this summer.  I found what I was looking for and Bono, I’m sorry that you still haven’t found it.  But I have.  Rachel Darcy.  This summer has been everything, a touch for every square inch of my body, with hand and lips.  I’ve found what I love most – her running her hands through my hair.  I found what she loves most – soft nibbling on her ear.  And we found each other and now I think it’s safe to say we truly know each other, like only lovers can.

I sound like a fucking sentimentalist, like the romantic junk I was spewing forth just before leaving Bellevue, except I have a reason now.  Am I turning into the romantic I never wanted to be?  Abandoning Paul’s cynical route that Kyle has mimicked so well only to fall in line with Bruce and Kevin’s romantic drivel?

I guess the cynic in me got struck so suddenly by his grandfather’s death that when Rachel came to him and took his hands, moving him to her, he lost his sense of direction and a couple of weeks later when he found his faith in the human spirit again, he found God and Rachel found her grandfather and the last vestiges of cynicism were washed away.  I don’t think I’ll miss it.  I don’t think I’ll miss him.  Besides, there’s always Paul and Kyle to make up for my lack of cynicism.

SC


Dear Diary,

It’s raining again.  Just a soft rain.  Shouldn’t last more than a couple hours.  Gives me some time to think.  I can’t believe they’re gonna help me buy a car and a brand new one at that.  My mom and grandfather.  It’s still strange to say.  Interesting that Lynn tracked him down and never told me.  Maybe she just wanted to use it as a bargaining chip between her and mom.

So Paul and Sharon are supposed to be here tomorrow.  Wonder what the four of us can do.  Nice to have a pairing off of couples rather than the whole gang of guys congregating on my doorstep.

Now what the hell is Sean thinking with that blanket in his hand?  He knows it’s raining, he must know we can’t go down to Harbor View Park today.  Hmmm . . .  Time to go find out.

Love,
Rachel  –  8/10


26 August

The last Coronado entry.  Tomorrow we get in the Prelude and we head on north.  And then we’ll be back in the Oaks and everything will be like last year.

What is there to say about this summer?  The Endless Summer that I called it when I left the Oaks?  I thought it would be endless without her.  But instead, it’s the memories that will keep it going forever.  And the love will keep it going forever.

Today is like the day I got here, a picture perfect postcard of a day.  The sun is beating down on the sand.  I feels good against my skin and the water’s gonna feel even better.  And both of them pale in comparison to the feel of her.  The cool of her lips.  The warmth of her skin.  The beating of her heart.  The softness of her hair.  The love in her eyes.

So tomorrow is a bit different.  No Jessie.  Which means, on the bad side, a friend is gone and won’t be back.  And that just serves as a reminder that this is our last year with Paul and Sharon.  But, on the plus side, it means Rachel is living on her own this year and the summer is just the start of something fantastic.

Today, sitting here on the beach, where just two nights ago we made love under a full moon, I look at her and smile as I think of how much I love her.  What did Kevin call his life with Kate during Spring Break when they finally got some real time together away from everyone else?  Oh yeah.  He said he got it from Paul.  Our own private world.  A perfect world.

SC
Coronado Beach  –  August, 1995

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