Monday, February 02, 2009
The desert cabin was a duplex and each night for four nights we had different neighbors. Each night after a long day out in the sun we'd drive up and notice a new car, my heart sinking a bit each time. Privacy, see. It's privacy. Privacy means we have a secret, a secret to ourselves. But no matter, we still had neighbors. Privacy laughs in my face and hitches up her skirt.
The first night we walked up and there was a little party on our shared porch. Our neighbors and their friends had settled in on the tiny landing with drinks and tables and chairs. These folks were drinkers, they were into the hard stuff early and were having a great time. Drunk retired people make for good neighbors, they share their beer and laugh really loud. The women automatically start to mother you and you like that a little bit.
The second night the man stayed there alone, he seemed to be on a mission, taking pictures of everything and carrying a really big pack. We didn't speak much and there were no beers on the porch that night. I daydreamed that he was a semi-famous photographer, a recluse. In truth he probably sold life insurance. But maybe not.
We met a couple struggling with their bags on the third night. They were cordial enough and we were in a rush. We were hot and dusty and needed a beer. Later that night the walls almost shook, they were fighting in a way that saddened us both so much that we turned the music up loud. I could hear her screaming at him about an affair I'm not the one who had an affair you bastard and him responding more quietly but no less angry. At one point the door slammed and I heard the car leave. We tried to compensate the universe, as if somehow declaring our love, no matter how rocky it can be sometimes might counterbalance the suffering through the walls. The car was still gone when we woke up. In the morning she was on the porch alone, she had a book and I wanted to say something hopeful but words failed me. Sometimes there aren't any words. It's wrong to feel blessed in the face of another's tragedy, selfish somehow. Yet I feel blessed.
The last night was shared with an older couple riding motorcycles. These folks were rocking, with their leathers and their jeans and their white hair gunning their engines when they pulled into their parking space. They were cool, these last folks. As they went into their side of the cabin I pictured their love lasting a lifetime, a mutual pursuit of adventure and acceptance, one that has bound them together until now. A love strong enough to erase the suffering of the night before.