7. Paradise by the ‘C’


Oh-o and just one kiss
She’d fill them long summer nights
with her tenderness. That secret pact you made
back when her love could save you from the bitterness
Oh she’s the one, oh she’s the one

~ Springsteen, She’s the one.

That first visit feels like a beautiful dream to me now. It was summer in Jersey; the days hot and humid. So many memories flood in like a tide just thinking about those precious four weeks. The thing that always strikes me is how comfortable, how familiar we were with each other. All the getting to know you stuff had already been taken care of in the many months of intense communication before I arrived.

Now we were just living in the beat of each moment. We luxuriated in each other’s company the way cats luxuriate in a patch of sun. The sheer physicality of proximity lent every instant an electricity neither of us had ever before experienced.

One of the first things we did together was drive down to Wildwood and Cape May at the southernmost tip of New Jersey. We stayed for a couple of days at a sprawling old bed and breakfast in Wildwood and Jersey girl took me sightseeing around the ridiculously picturesque Cape.


cape may 2

Imagine a seaside town, consisting almost entirely of life-sized doll houses and you’ll get a bit of an idea of what Cape May is all about. I don’t want to use the hoary phrase it was magical, but well, it was pretty frickin’ magical.

That is until the car broke down just as we set off to go home.

We were in traffic and approaching an intersection when the car suddenly became unresponsive and then stalled out. She got it to turn over again, but it was pretty obvious something was very wrong. We limped to a nearby car park and called for a tow. While we were waiting for the tow truck to arrive, we sat at some picnic tables by a junior league baseball diamond and enjoyed the stillness the moment provided.

This was a revelation to Jersey girl. In her previous relationship, she told me later, a situation like this would have had her ex ranting and cursing impotently. My relatively calm reaction to what was, in the scheme of things, a minor crisis was outside of the realm of her experience.

We spent the rest of the day in some service centre waiting for the car’s alternator to be replaced. It would have been deadly dull except for the fact that we were doing it together. That’s what it’s like with her; every moment has import, even the unimportant ones.

I realise now that through all this she was watching me; weighing my responses to the everyday challenges of ordinary life. I guess, even with the easy familiarity we were experiencing, she’d been let down enough times in the past that it was hard to believe someone could ever be exactly what she’d hoped; or even close to that.

I was happy and so grateful not to disappoint her.

And she has, never once, disappointed me.

All images in this post are my own.

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