I sat at a table with my husband of two days, watching the fog billow out like a skirt. As I held a glass of California Chardonnay, by the stem, like I had studied, I watched him gaze towards the water. Seagulls cawed in the distance, as the waves, one stroke at a time, sculpted the rocks. He smiled to himself and inhaled deeply.
When we had discussed places to honeymoon, Monterrey seemed to be a logical choice. We could drive there, and Paul knew the place well---he had lived there for a year when he was studying Korean. He spoke of it with the foggy half-memory of a dream---the barking seal lions, the sourdough bread bowls, and the mornings kissed with the sea's salt. He wanted me to see it, and love it, as he did.
We ordered what very well may be the world's most perfect food---mussels, cooked in white wine, butter, and garlic---with a crusty loaf of bread to sop up those glorious flavors. We ate, held hands, stole glances at each other's new wedding rings, and wove a future together.
Although our days were dedicated to studying business at the University of Arizona (Paul), and teaching seventh graders to appreciate poetry (Me), our evenings were all about Frank.
Frank Sinatra, to be specific.
Each Wednesday evening, we would meet at Frog and Firkin, a British-style pub on University Avenue. We sat under the awning, amidst the tattooed, nose-pierced college students, drinking Guinness Stout, so perfectly poured that you could eat the foam with a spoon. We ordered pizza and garlic fries, and talked to our friends about politics and travel and books and, yes, jazz music.
As the sun began to descend, turning the sky to the purple, dry holiness of a desert sunset, Frank began to sing.
In real life, Frank was some guy with a day job, but on Wednesday evenings, it was Ol' Blue Eyes.
All conversation halted as he crooned, "Fill my heart with song/Let me sing forevermore."
I rested my head on Paul's shoulder and relaxed into his warmth. As I held his hand, I thought, "You are all I long for, all I worship, and adore."
Calvert County, Maryland
We kissed the boys goodbye, thanked my mother, and hightailed it to the least kid-friendly place we could imagine: Sakura. Surely, nobody under the age of ten would be at a sushi restaurant.
Paul had introduced me to sushi years ago, partly by coaching me past my instinctual gag reflux: "Swallow it! It's just a California Roll! You're not even eating fish!"
It took awhile, but now I will eat the real-deal--urchin, eggs, even tentacles.
We ordered our platter of sushi, and talked about his work, our boys, running---the normal things we discuss when we're able to complete an entire thought without a youngster piping in about dump trucks. We laughed, we touched each other's hands, we teased.
I watched this man talk, still in love with his quiet sense of self, his intelligence, his compassion. His eyes are still as blue as the ocean, and as warm as the desert at dusk.
It doesn't matter where we eat. I will never be hungry when I'm with him.