You may remember the beautiful words an anonymous reader left here in parts one and two about his trip to Cancun and the woman who stole his heart. Today, the story continues… and sadly ends. I would like to thank that special someone for allowing us the chance to get swept away in the romance, and without further delay, here’s the final chapter. Happy Monday, my friends!
By the time I reached the steps of my resort, the rain had stopped, but the wind still whipped up palm leaves and wrappers in funnels around my feet. I stopped inside and texted Eliza. What a day. Let me know when you’re in safe. Xo.
I walked to my first-floor room and thought about what I’d wear and what I’d bring to see Eliza again. I’d bought a cheap linen shirt in the grocery mega store across the street, dark brown with light brown highlights. I checked my phone, but didn’t see a text from Eliza yet.
I waited. It seemed like an hour, but it was probably three minutes. I called her, thinking to hear her voice would be much better than reading her words. I got a fast busy signal. Oh no, I thought. I looked at the spider web cracks on my phone screen.
What if I got her number wrong? What If the universe finally saw fit to fill my cup a little, and I spilled it? What if … what if she thinks I really didn’t care, and that I’m back at my resort running weak game at the first women I come across at the poolside bar?
I knew Eliza wanted me to have her number. I was certain of that. I thought back to the way she gave me each digit, one at a time. She looked at my phone as I entered the numbers, whispering a shit! Or damn! Every time the number didn’t go in right. Too important to muck up.
I’d done it. I’d managed to foul it up! Jabari, a friend I’d traveled with, suggested a night of karaoke at the resort for a distraction, he having his own brand of romance issues. We headed toward the gaudy blue lights in the resort basement and each picked Frank Sinatra tunes to croon.
Just as I was about to walk to the stage, I got a text. Hi! It said, from the right area code, but different number. It’s Eliza. Today was incredible. I’m on my sister’s phone. You’re a patient and sexy man! I’d love to hear your voice again. Xo
I threw a fist into the air, then mangled Sinatra’s words, and not soon enough. I was out of the hall quickly, eager to make plans and see Eliza again. But, it wasn’t to be. Two hours passed, and I heard from her again. She sounded love struck, but falling asleep looking at the stars on her balcony.
The next day, our bus rolled on from the resort, north along the tourist district of Cancun. Condominiums flashed past, and I imagined Eliza in any one of them, sipping a dirty monkey on a terrace, ringlets framing that face I missed so much, hands missing mine as mine were missing hers.
She texted from her sister’s phone the week she was there without me, pictures and messages from her family, who loved the idea of us. Back in the states, our correspondence took a playful tact, part reminiscence and part prose. In the quiet times of my day, she texted, my mind and heart find you, too.
After several days’ pause, we spoke on the phone. “I don’t know how to do this!” Eliza said that night. I’d just sent her a song, one she’d never heard, but that brought her to tears, she said. I kept hearing songs by B.o.B. or the Beatles or Billy Joel at the very moment her texts came in.
I heard the adoration in her words, but also the resignation. How do kindred soul connections even work? She texted. I long for more. I ache for more. Do you even exist? Will this memory lose its magic if I dwell in it too long?
What daily present relationship would be like with you? Is it possible? Why do we live so damn far from each other?
We defaulted to love, too. Valentine’s Day, which neither of us counted ourselves as huge fans of, caught us both. Happy Valentine’s Day you sweet, loving woman you, I texted. So grateful to have crossed your path.
Feeling blessed to have spent time with you, fun-loving, curious, creative man, she replied. Qualities I find so very endearing, and hope to nourish in myself. Happy Valentine’s Day, Dearest.
It’s been almost a month since Eliza last sent me a message. I’ve texted, and left voicemails. I won’t try again. I won’t give up on the idea, either, as I peruse the final photos she sent, of her trying to wear as many patterns of clothes as she could. But she said herself, she didn’t know how to do this.
My life isn’t easy. It’s not wretched and could be worse. I’ve heavy burdens to bear. Being a father brings considerable light, and when I stumble and crumble in the real world, I have my words. My words do things and carry me to places I could never get to on my own.
Eliza, for the four hours at my side and the fleeting moments since, was perhaps the first woman who could carry me and nourish me the way words do. I’m blessed to have found her. If the universe’s sole plan was for me to know this for only a moment … it’s a bitter lesson, yes.
It’s also bound together with enough hope that if I do live out my days alone, I had my moment. It didn’t last decades or even years, but it was here, and it was real, and I was a part of it, despite shortcomings and reasons and other factors that prevented it before and since.
We never really said goodbye. Maybe that’s good. Maybe that’s the best way to end this chapter.
# # #
So when I’m walking down the road and feeling bad
Can’t understand the things you do
Nothing turns out the way we planned
You’re still my baby and I’m still your man
- Better than Love, Griffin House