Adventures Alone: Big Sur River Inn
I am calmest when submerged in a body of water. Blame it on my zodiac sign or my mother forcing swim lesson not long after I could walk. Either way, the tumultuous nature of water soothes my anxiety, steadies my breathing.
Water reminds me: I am small, the world is vast, my problems are negligible.
This, is perhaps, why I love sitting in the chairs at the Big Sur River Inn--feet submerged but firmly planted on the pebbles lining the riverbed.
Not long ago, I sat in a chair on the river, finishing This is How You Lose Her, a book I purposefully savored, as if I knew it would mean something in the grand scheme of my young adulthood. I read a chapter on a waterfront bench in Sausalito, and two chapters on my best friends bed while he combed through his iTunes collection. I threw the book on the floor, yelling "Why can't I write like that!?" Childlike tantrums get me nowhere, but I'm sure they're amusing to those lucky bystanders. I read two chapters while a friend packed to move, as if reading could freeze time. I chose the river as my home for the last few chapters.
A three legged dog fetched rocks while couples canoodled on wooded love-seats down river. A thirty-something with a plastic cup of cheap beer threw rocks for the dog, eyeing me, alone in the river. I imagined the beer sloshing from his cup in slow-motion, the drunk fish thanking him.
I thought about those who lost me, some on purpose, some by chance. The number of times I've been just out of reach, leaving the reality of a dinner table for the comfort of building volcanos out of fried rice, imagining. The times they lost me because I decided to go. I stopped returning calls, I forgot to email, I left a trail of half used chapsticks and a pair of old glasses. Once I decide, that's it. A habit I'll never learn to break.
Eventually, two women approached, hoping to take my seats.
"Is it cold?" one asked.
I looked at my feet. I hadn't considered the water temperature.
"Maybe?" I said realizing my toes are numb, "No colder than the Pacific."
They laughed, thanking me for giving up the chairs.
I walked back to the car slowly, my feet adjusting to the warm asphalt. I was calmer, drifting towards center, but entirely unable to shake the truth: "the half-life of love is eternity."
Wondering, how many eternities am I intertwined with, and how many can I handle?
And then the bathroom door reminded me:
The half life of loving yourself is eternity.