As I’m driving back to the hotel, The Dana on Mission Bay, I smile to myself. The last couple of weeks have been torture avoiding Jonathan at work and getting my life together after leaving my husband. All that anger and hurt has dissipated. I’m quick-tempered one of my many faults. Yes, I’m human, but the art of forgiving feels so good. Maybe it’s sunny California, how can I be mad in such a beautiful place? Could this be A Do Over?
After getting back to the hotel room I take a long hot shower, rinsing the salt and sand off my body. I feel refreshed. I pick up my cell and debate whether to call Jon. What the heck. I hit send and it’s ringing, one ring, two rings, three rings, four rings, I’m about to end the call when I hear a breathless voice on the other end.
“Did I get you at a bad time?” I ask.
“No we just got in” He quietly says.
“I was wondering if we could meet and talk?”
“Are you going to throw another drink in my face?” He coolly asks.
“No I promise not to. No drinks. I thought we could take a walk. I found this great hiking trail at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla and I think you’ll love it. It’s overlooking the ocean and we can walk down to the beach. How does that sound?”
I hold my breath as there is silence. “Okay” he says “I have to grout my sisters tile bathroom, so how about tomorrow morning about 10?”
“Great! I can pick you up and we can go from there. What’s the address?”
He rattles it off and I quickly jot it down on a piece of paper.
“Okay got it. I’ll see you tomorrow at 10. Thanks. Have fun grouting. Bye.”
As I get ready for dinner. I think about what I’m going to say and I speak into my voice recorder on my phone. I feel as though I’m an actor rehearsing my lines for opening night. This is my final chance to explain and say I’m sorry. The question is will he forgive?
I have dinner at the Firefly out on the patio overlooking the lighted pool. The Short Ribs melt in my mouth-delicious. The Riesling is light, yet sweet, just the way I like it and the service is impeccable. I’ll have to Yelp about it and give it rave reviews. After dinner I walk around the Marina thinking about tomorrow. I’m nervous. I have to get this right. No losing my cool. Hopefully we can just start again.
I wake to the sound of waves on my alarm. It’s 7 am. I stretch and get out of bed. It’s a beautiful sunny day. I decide to take a swim and do some laps to shake the nervousness away. I have it all to myself, aah-heaven.
After a quick breakfast at the Pearl I get ready. I check myself in the mirror one last time before heading out. I find the apartment complex and see Jonathan sitting on a bench. I wave and he walks over.
“Nice wheels” he comments as he gets in. He’s wearing jeans, a T-shirt, a light blue wind-breaker and boat shoes. He looks like he’s going sailing rather than hiking. I bite my lip and say “Looking good kid”.
As we drive we talk about everything except about us. I pay the admission fee at the entrance of the reserve and we drive up to the top of the hill and park.
“Isn’t this beautiful?” I ask as we walk towards the trail.
“Yeah it is” he says as he looks around.
I can’t help it as I say jokingly “Are you going to be okay in those shoes? There’s a lot of slippery spots”. I don’t want you to tumble off the cliff.”
He looks down at his shoes and says with a dig “Yeah just as long as you don’t push me off the cliff I’ll be fine.”
I laugh. “Promise Cross my heart. Scouts honor.”
We look at the trail map and decide on taking the Razor Point Trail to the Beach trail and then walk on the secluded Black’s Beach. It’s a beautiful hike through the colorful jagged and worn sandstone cliffs. Vibrant colors of golds, reds, pinks and cream sandstone create a desert oasis against the back drop of the Pacific Ocean with the rare Torrey Pines dotting the landscape.
All my anxiety is gone. The views are our conversation. It’s nice just to be with him enjoying nature’s paradise. As we near the beach the path becomes narrower as we make our way slowly around the cliff. Jonathan reaches for my hand as we make the final decent to the beach. His hand feels nice in mine.
We take off our shoes and walk barefoot along the water in silence. Finally I blurt out: “I’m sorry for not telling you earlier that I was married. I guess I wasn’t expecting to have feelings for you. And when I realized that I did I was scared to tell you. And when I did tell you that night you said you couldn’t date someone who was married. Then the next day when I told you I was getting a divorce and you didn’t remember I was in shock. I guess I thought everything would be okay. Jonathan you’re not the reason I left my husband, I needed to be free. It was over before you came into my life. Please understand that.” The words tumbled out of my mouth. I looked at him pleading.
He stops and looks at the waves before looking at me. “I’m sorry too.” I like you but I just got out of a serious relationship and I don’t want to be dragged into someone else’s drama. I have enough of my own. And when you threw that drink in my face I was done.”
“I know.” I say quietly. “Throwing a drink in your face was childish. I was so hurt from your reaction and not able to get through to you. But that is no excuse. After a while I put myself into your shoes and thought about it and I realized I went about it the wrong way. I can’t do anything about it, but I just wanted you to know. I’m hoping we can be friends and maybe someday more?”
“Friends? Yeah we can be friends. We’ll see how it goes. I can’t make any promises, but” his voice trails off as a naked guy saunters past. “What the…” he says in astonishment.
I laugh as I say “Oh its California you know the land of the free!”
We both break out in laughter. Life is good.