Five-Minute Memoir: Car-park confessions

 

We were standing at the big raw-wood counter in the kitchen. My parents had rented a cabin so our family could spend the summer in the mountains by Lake Tahoe, and we were all talking about my girlfriend Dana. Everyone already knew what I hadn't told her. But you can't just tell someone something like that.

At that point, Dana and I had been 'dating' for two months. She was living in California and I was living in Texas, and we'd been talking on the phone and texting each other goodnight. She'd even sung me a song.

We'd met four years earlier in Hong Kong. I was just getting started as a serious writer then, and Dana was finishing school. She was beautiful. We went different directions after Hong Kong, but we regularly wrote each other letters: long, heartfelt, flirtatious, inspiring letters. In theory we were just friends, but eventually we admitted that we'd become something more.

Two months before my family's trip to Tahoe, Dana and I had reunited in person. I'd flown from Austin to LA, and we'd gone from the airport straight to Malibu beach, trembling and giggling throughout the drive. I finally felt the pure and simple joy of Dana's hand in mine. The warmth and the comfort and the promise. We kissed for the first time that night, standing together on the ocean sand.

During those first ecstatic days, I met Dana's roommate, her brother, her sister-in-law, and even one of her college professors. I saw where she lived and worked, and I felt her body close to mine. By the end of the trip, we were "officially a couple". We'd communicated everything we hadn't been able to before; the essential questions of love and relationship were answered. Ironically though, the ceremony of romance and courtship had lagged behind: we were dating, but we'd never gone on a real date.

While I was at the cabin in Tahoe, Dana was with her family at their summer home on Lake Wildwood. Tahoe and Wildwood are about two hours apart, so we decided to meet at a restaurant in the middle. For a date. A real one.

I left our cabin in a rental car. The mountain roads were winding; I could see the sunlit tips of big mountains in the distance. The air was crisp.

I arrived first, and was seated outside on the restaurant's patio. My table had a little waterfall on one side, and green trees all around. Dana joined me a few minutes later, and I stood to greet her. We kissed.

I don't remember what we had for dinner or what we talked about, and it didn't matter. I could smell her perfume and study her smile; I could feel her foot touching my ankle beneath the table. It was just like our first real conversation in a Hong Kong coffee shop four years earlier: relaxed and thrilling, easy and profound. Just tell her, I remember thinking. But I couldn't. Not yet.

We left the restaurant eventually, but neither of us was ready to say goodbye. We got into my rental car and just drove. It was getting dark, and Dana's hand was on my knee. It wasn't long before I pulled into an empty forest drive. The sun finally set, and the darkness and the trees seemed to close behind us like soft curtains.

I turned off the engine, and we kissed. And then the starry sky appeared in the distance through the trees; we opened the doors and stood and breathed. We sat on the hood of the car, side by side, and Dana put her hand in mine.

"I need to tell you something," she said. "A big something."

"OK."

She didn't wait, and she didn't explain: "I love you."

The words sounded new, natural, and honest.

"I love you too," I replied, and I meant it.

But that wasn't all.

"I need to tell you something else," I added. "It's another big something."

My body started to tremble and my voice quivered in my throat. Dana held me tightly, and then I looked at her; despite the darkness and the curtains of trees, I could see her green eyes. They were bright and open wide.

"I wrote a book for you. I mean, I wrote a book about you." I swallowed and inhaled. "Dana, I've loved you for a long time, and you inspired me to write a book. A love story. The girl in the story – her name is Evangeline Muse – she's you." I inhaled again. "It isn't published yet, but one day it will be. I think it might be a very beautiful book, and I've been waiting four years to tell you."

Dana smiled, and kissed me. She looked at me and her eyes were green and bright. "Can I read it?" she asked.

"Yes."

'The Conception of Zachary Muse' by Jason Hinojosa is published by ROMAN Books

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Arts and Entertainment
Bono throws water at the crowd while the Edge watches as they perform in the band's first concert of their new world tour in Vancouver

MusicThey're running their own restaurants

Voices
The main entrance to the BBC headquarters in London
TV & Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food