Friday, January 02, 2009

Rolling Along On the Roller Coaster

Many years in the past, I have gone to the coast for New Year's Eve. It sounds really cool, but honestly, as I look back on them, they are at best, just ok.

I think the first year, I drove over 700 miles to get there before midnight. It was when I was still married but was living in Corpus Christi and working in Mathis. My husband had scurried to our previous home, where he was still living, with an excuse that I don't recall. I was pissed, and I really wanted to have a good New Year's Eve... and if it had to be without him, it should be a place I love, and I love the beach.

I arrived on the beach to see a few people with fires, it was chilly and I didn't have a coat with me. So I wrapped a quilt around me, got out of the car and walked along the beach. As I walked I watched the waves and a very large bird that was at the water's edge. Another woman was by the woman and we exchanged "Happy New Year" salutations. Then she continued to visit. Her family had come from a northern state, they were in a RV and they were one of the ones with a great fire built. She invited me to join them by the fire, so I did. I am not sure where or when the New Year came in, but it did, and after a while, I returned to my car to drive home, about 30 miles away from the beach. As I drove, I noticed my car was over heating, then there was smoke or steam coming from the car. I pulled into a parking lot, turned the car off and pulled the quilt up over me and slept for a few hours, woke up and drove about 3 miles and did the same. I got home at 6 am.

The next year, when he was there, we drove to Corpus, and stayed in a motel for NYE. He didn't get it. He didn't understand that I wanted to be on the beach at midnight, so I didn't push it, and did what he wanted... at least he was trying.

The years since then are a bit blurry. One year I went to geocache all day NYE and NYD and I was on the beach a good bit of the time, but I wasn't at Midnight. At midnight I was in a motel room all alone, wondering if my life choices were the best ones for me or not. I have learned that whether they were best or not, they were/are my choices and I will make the best of them.

Earlier in the month I had every intention of going to the coast again this year. Then last week, after a few days of sadness, I changed my mind and told a close friend that I was not going after all. He seemed very disappointed that I had changed my mind. He said he had envisioned a romantic thought of me, on the beach, spending time with myself, by myself. I became defensive as if he was badgering me for changing my mind. So later, after he left, I thought about it.

I wondered how I could have the best New Year's Eve.

The one NYE that stood out as the most memorable was right before I divorced my first husband. I went out with a friend, who was single, at a local watering hole. A tall handsome man, whose name is not in my memory bank, asked me to dance. We ended up dancing, laughing, kissing, and went to a party after the bar closed. Neither of us knew anyone at the party, we were invited by a girl I met in the restroom, and everyone thought we were married. They said we looked good together, seemed so much in love, etc. We laughed and necked and had a good time and then I went home to my life at the time.

Hmmmmmm.... I wondered how I could replicate that and go to the beach.

So I decided to go after all. I took some clothes to change into, depending on the weather, a sleeping bag, if I choose to sleep on the beach, a quilt to wrap around if I walk on the beach at night, which I did plan on doing, a bottle of Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, a staple for a trip to the beach.

On the road about 2:30, and thinking about what I would do when I arrived on the island. I decided to drive to Port Aransas, rather than go to the National Seashore... best to stay where I have cell phone service. I would need to eat some dinner, so I decided to eat at a new place I haven't tried yet. After arriving in Port A, I drove down the beach to see if there were any bars or clubs on the beach and the only one I thought was there, was closed, permanently I think. A few years back a friend that lives in the area and I had partied at a bar near the marina so I drove that way and there it was, a cajun cafe that sang to me, eat here eat here. I drove on by and found I was a bit lost, as I looked for the marina area. Finally I turned a corner and there was the familiar sight of several bars and the seafood restaurant I had considered for dinner. I turn in and drive down the lane where the bright holiday lights, flashing signs, and warm lights from inside the buildings. Some have bands, some have dj's and none of them seem to have a cover charge. Then there it was, the one that I have always wanted to walk into. In the past, when I drove by, the place looked like a biker bar, and not meeting the criteria of my cohort in crime that has joined me at the beach for the last two years or so, we didn't return for a true visit and inspection in person.

As I drove on by, I laughed as I thought, I might not be able to make my way back to the restaurant and as I turned the corner, there it was, less than two blocks from the bar.

Car parked, seated at a table for 1, you know, the one, it is a small table by the wall, right by the tables set up for large parties.

There is no bar to sit at by myself. That's ok, I am a-o-k with sitting there, because all the tables have white butcher paper on them, which means they will have Cajun boil, which is exactly what I ordered. My waiter was from N'rleans, because I had a hard time understanding him. Before I left, I asked for pointers for a local bar to choose..and what do you know, he suggested the friendly little bar I had picked out... woo hoo...

The short drive back to the wood frame building containing a bar was short. There were a few people inside and the sign stated it was the friendliest place on the island. So I parked, right in front, and moseyed up the steps and stepped inside. A long bar lined with chrome legged and dulled red seat covers on barstools from the late 50's or so they seemed to be. A few people sat at the bar, a few at a table or two and a lady playing a flatliner machine. Sitting down at the bar, the bubbly bartender said hello and asked what she could get me. I noticed it isn't a full bar, but there are beer bottles and some flavored malt beverages on the shelf behind the bar. A young lady (perhaps barely over 21) suggests the red Parrot Bay cooler so I took her recommendation and soon I was sipping on it, and trying to get the feel of the place. The people in there obviously knew each other and all seemed friendly. A few more came in and sat in various spots. A few just walked through, which helped me learn there was a front door and a back door and I had parked by the front door. Then the band showed up. Two at once, who were quick to introduce themselves. One of them announced the others would be there shortly. Then the young lady left and a stiff and stodgy couple sat down where she was. Then a man sat down two barstools and pulled out a Crown Royal party... What? a BYOB bar? woohoo... I really did pick the right place, so I go out and get me rum out of the car... A coke set up, a bottle of rum and a barstool on either side of me gave me a feeling of possibilities and availability... and then he walked in...
He was tall... at least 6'4", with bright shining eyes. long beautiful silver lined head of hair and a very intriguing face. He made his way, from the back door, to the bar, stopping to greet friends as I was screaming inside my head, sit next to me, please sit next to me... and then he did.
As he sat down, he turned his head, smiled an award winning (well it could be) smile and said hello and asked how I was, and I said good
I am good, how are you?
Very good he said and I thought
I bet you are
That was the beginning of the best New Year's Eve ever.
Turns out, he is a new islander, having moved down to care for elderly parents. He states he is single.
Then a surprising visitor, while he was out of his seat. The man I had seen cleaning up around the bar, helping out Miss Lucy, the bartender. He had a great smile and plopped down next to me and was inquiring as to where my husband was...ummm there was no ring on my finger and explained I was single. Small talk ensued and then he was gone as quickly as he appeared.
I felt it was a setup right away, so I wanted to make sure that I had been very clear.
Then he was back. I found it hard to not touch his hair when we talked. He was quite charming and very uninhibited when the band played, he danced alone or by the band as he jammed on his air guitar with them. He shared his goal for the night which was to have everyone in the place smiling... there were a few hard sells, but they were all smiling in the end. He is intelligent, well read and a history buff.
His phone kept ringing. Finally I asked if he was suppose to leave in time to see his wife, and that is when he told me he was single, but the date he was suppose to have ditched him, for the 4th time in the last two weeks... hmmmm
So I asked if he was expecting her before midnight. He said he didn't know. Bravely I inquired whether I could have a kiss at midnight if she didn't show up. He dipped his head and kissed me then, and said I didn't have to wait til Midnight for a kiss.
I just about melted into the floor.
I kept looking at his hands, long thin fingers, great coloring, and wishing he was wrapping them and his arms around me.
Many friendly people, great music, visiting and flirting. Then it was midnight and he was kissing me so passionately.... which was followed by the last two hours of bar time spent talking to him and others, singing, and dancing around in a very small area.
There was talk of where I was staying and I said I didn't have a place yet, but was going to get one. He didn't want me to do that, and yet, his place was full of visiting family and friends and that was not an option.
We spent 4+ hours on the beach, mostly in my car and some standing and a little walking on the beach. It was a wonderful night of kissing and holding and talking and a little bit of playing but not so much to feel guilty about.
At 6:30, I took him to his truck, and drove back to the beach to watch the sun rise. Then I drove home and tried to sleep, but it wasn't easy... I didn't want to drive away. I didn't want to leave him there...
I want the dream that starts with him walking in the back door and the two of us walking through the front door of a life together, not just a night... but right now?
Right now, on the roller coaster of my life
the beginning of 2009 and the first 6 and a half hours of it, were on the top bend, the exciting, anticipated part, well worth the journey on the tracks that led me there.
Here's to a year with more ups than downs....
and yes, I have talked to him, and perhaps we will see each other again, soon... time will tell.

If ever there was an evening that things came along the way I wanted them to, this was it... did I draw him to me? I think maybe I did...