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
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson on stage

film
Arts and Entertainment

Grace Dent on TV

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
art

‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat

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

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us