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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams will be given a 'meaningful remembrance' at the Emmy Awards

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

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music
Arts and Entertainment
Blue singer Simon Webbe will be confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing

tv
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' movie take on The Jungle Book

film
Arts and Entertainment
DJ Calvin Harris performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape