I awoke with a start. Where am I?
My senses picked up clues. A warm breeze bathed my skin. Sand spilled through my fingers.
I put my hand to my eyes to shade the setting sun. There was a figure standing statuesque in the sea’s surf. I smiled. It’s my husband.
My husband.......my husband. I’m still not used to it. I like saying it in my mind and on my lips. I smiled and this time said it out loud. “My husband.”
The distance between us prevented him from hearing me. I was glad. I needed a moment to absorb the situation. My eyes scanned the figure. His back was towards me and his arms were folded across his chest. Behind him the sky painted streaks of orange, pink, blue and yellow like a Van Gogh masterpiece. I mused that’s just like Parke, he’s always taking time to admire nature and ponder. He’s probably philosophizing about fractals and how they fit in the universe or maybe how he wants to paint that sunset on a canvas. I, on the other hand, was caught up in a different type of beauty. His dark hair was ruffled by the breeze. His shoulders never looked so big, his frame never so tall. Figures, as he is being inspired by the mysteries of heaven and earth, I can’t take my eyes off of his inspiring body.
Though there are six billion people sharing the planet at that moment, we were all alone on this beach, in that corner of the world. It was our beach, if just for one hour. He turned his head and looked back at me. Our eyes connected, he smiled, and ran toward me. He stopped short of me and sprayed sand over me as if he was skiing. Then he seated himself next to me and pulled something out of his pocket.
“Here’s a sand dollar for your journal” he offered.
I looked down. There was my journal splayed open with only the first line conquered. “Well here we are in Fiji…”
I scrupulously wrote in journals growing up. Although I had many friends, I was an only child, so my home life was quiet and my journal became my constant companion. I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Journal writing is encouraged because of our focus on family history. I’ve always been perplexed why the leaders of my church put such weight on journal writing; perhaps, it is because it encourages self-reflection and consequently, self-perfection. Or maybe it’s because much of our church history was gathered from journals. Either way, I’m grateful for my recorded history, otherwise I would have never been able to remember the facts, names and details of my juvenile romantic history that would have long been lost under the couch cushions of my mind. Needless to say, the idea that someday my grandchildren may be remotely interested in the play-by-play of my make-out sessions with their grandfather or that I thought some guy was “totally cute” in 7th grade is beyond me (and makes me a little ill).
What began as obedience to a commandment of record keeping became a nightly cathartic release. One journal led to seventeen journals.
My first journal entry was December 22, 1984 when I was 7 years old. It was written in a Hello Kitty journal with bunnies and rainbows pictured on the front. It had a lock on it which was pointless since the average entry read “I went to school today and played with ____”. Ironically, later journals had no locks and the content was so steamy that pages had been torn out over the years as a protection from spying eyes.
Parke wrapped me in his arms. “Just sleep” he whispered as he stroked my hair. The sound of the waves caressing the sand and the wind whistling through the palms had a sedative effect. His warm body blanketed me. Not only was his warmth superficially heating my skin, but the warmth had penetrated the very core of me. Had I ever been this happy?
The idea of a “happy place” seemed corny to me, but the situation at hand persuaded me to think otherwise. In the future, when pain approaches, a needle stick is imminent, a uterine contraction is consuming my body, or heartache and loss from death devastates me—I will go to my Happy Place, to right here, right now.
I murmured “What were you thinking about out there?”
“I was thinking about how I want to paint this sunset someday. See the oranges over there and how the pink…..”, Parke went on.
I knew it.
Just as sleep was about to overcome me, I reminisced about how I had come to this paradise place with the man who held me secure.