Friday, May 6, 2016


Buried, nearly forgotten inside the Chernobyl landscape of an old computer are the words, “and with that, I was left alone with him so we went out to the desert.” 

Resurrected the letters lay Kansas flat across the screen. Benign and tasteless.

Cavernous only to me. 

What I remember most was the severity of the headache I drove into the desert with. The depth of my surrender to my circumstances. A suicidal submission to my marriage; a baneful promise to make it work at any cost.

Then a decade & a half later, I found myself sitting in the same spot on the “same" fragment of time it all went down in. Looking across the table into the eyes of the man who at that moment had been the last thread in my safety rope. The breaking of which led to the writing of those words. And to my eventual own forced self-rescue.

I looked out across the desert grass. “Holy shit, this is the same weekend...and the same spot.” BC's eyes grew wide. His own history of the same plot of time making him uneasy.  

In planning this trip I had unintentionally recreated the events leading up to the explosion that ripped apart his first family: a camping trip edging on Mother’s Day weekend. One that his wife and child went on alone just as I was attempting to do with Beach. It also explains BC's emotional reaction to the idea when I first told him what I was planning- and why he didn't let that happen as I had intended.
This is the ugly side of our love story. 

The point our two crashing first marriages crumbled, one after the other. 

I know how his side of things goes.  He and his wife were packing to go camping, I believe Bear Lake was their destination. They fought. He told her she had to be nice to him or leave.  She chose to leave.  And he chose to walk down the street rolling a smoke heading for my house. Heading for me.  

Most of you know the story from there; he said to me, "my wife just left me" and I said, "you can just do that, you can just pack up and go?" 

Within a day or two of BC's broken man march to the shelter of my front porch, with my school aged kids otherwise arranged for, I was taken out to the desert. It was our camping trip; mine and my husband's.  

I remember before we left writing to Lee. The electronic messages I sent him like smoke signals making their way across the mountains. I don't know what I said about going but I recall his response: please don't go out alone with him.  

I also remember how sad I felt taking a last look up the street to the tall blue eves of BC's house. Wondering if he would be okay while we were gone.  

“It is. The same time almost exactly,” I said against the pressing desert wind. Knowing for BC, any of what happened on my side in that time frame is all a wonder to him; I wonder what really happened to her?

To me it is so close I can almost see it as it plays out. 
The only wonder for me is why I would ever choose to go back there, and yet I do. I go back all the time.

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