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 & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
music

Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
ComedyCollier was once told there were "too many women" on bill
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
music

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
film

Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatre

Review: Of Mice and Men

Arts & Entertainment
art

By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work

Arts & Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an adaptation of Michael Punke's thriller 'The Revenant'
film

Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar

Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film

Arts & Entertainment
Down to earth: Fern Britton presents 'The Big Allotment Challenge'
TV

Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
film

Arts & Entertainment
TV
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
art

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

Arts & Entertainment
artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
Arts & Entertainment
A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp
art

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

Arts & Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day
film

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London
TV

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
Arts & Entertainment
Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
Arts & Entertainment
Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
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 iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit