The Delta

love is the greatest adventure.

It’s cold here. But not the kind of cold that bites my skin under my hoodie, so I bear it. I grip my fingers tight together and use my breath as makeshift gloves. I have a vision of my beanie in my top left dresser drawer back at home, just beneath my socks, and I’m kicking myself right now for not grabbing it. I didn’t know the weather before I left because I didn’t check. I never do.

I can hear the water in the distance, the barely slapping current over the seemingly never-ending ebb and flow of my mind. The Delta is my favorite place on these lost Sacramento nights. These nights, lost only to here, come much too slow and it’s the darkness that I was looking for. The darkness and the quiet. The stars are brightest in this abandoned place nestled quick and quiet by the water I once only knew how to kayak, drink, and raft upon. Where now I have come to befriend when the loneliness takes over and I need some good company that will do nothing but just listen. Whomever thought that knowing how to harness the sight of the glowing moon upon moving bodies of water would prove to be a superpower that most folks don’t know they’re missing out on, would continue to prove that I found something special. Here, in my slow and quiet corner of the world, it is peaceful.

And there are reasons why the rest of the world is not.

Once, about a million years ago, I brought a girl with me to these lost streets of out-of-business towns and unread histories. She was desperately cute, same as I was desperately nervous, desperately afraid of being loved, afraid of being seen in the light by the type of woman who could break me by merely loving me, too. But the moon showed up that night, in a kind of ridiculous-magical-Harry-Potter-giant type of way. It was so big and so bright that the darkness was hard to come by, as was the ability to hide any of my fear. I longed for my forgotten beanie. I longed to be able to cover up any part of my body visible under the spotlight of this much too bright wizard made moon. And so, I kissed her. I kissed her because I knew that our eyes would close. I kissed her to test the magic in the air. I kissed her because I already loved her. And I kissed her as if it were my last. I meant it at the time.

The sound of that same water breaks my thoughts and I crave a giant adventure. I picture Kerouac jumping in the car and driving to nowhere. And then right on to everywhere. No regard and no second thoughts, only gas pedal and time under all of these endlessly impossible stars. The stars, this is why I like it here. Far enough away from the city where they’re visible. And far enough away from the city where I feel brand new. Yes, I am craving an adventure so big that I would be different within it. I would be far enough away to feel brand new.

Once, about a million years ago, she kissed me back and, after many years, she did indeed break me. And, in the end, it was all worth it. Sometimes, we have to break under the weight of our own expectations in order to learn the lessons in doing better. I find that I am still learning these lessons. And I find that my heart is still capable of breaking, even after all this time and even after all of the breaks that have happened since, my heart is still whole and ready to hold another in the glow of a wizard made moon. And mean it.

The cold brings me back to the present and I am grateful for the moments where I can see my breath linger long enough that it doesn’t look real. If you stare at something for just the right amount of time, its impact within reality will change. Such is the same story for love. Which is why I like it here, The Delta has this way of changing people’s perspectives. It’s made up of sadness and magic. Full of buildings and people that might not last the night. Surrounded by water and thirsty all the same. We have this in common.

I spend a few more hours just listening to the water and the stars. Never forgetting to breathe out when I need a reminder of time. Remembering the bliss in the moments of love I’ve had here. The hands I’ve held while walking down these falling streets of history and hard work. And, at some point, I find my way back to my car and picture Kerouac riding shotgun. Begging me to press on to Denver, and then on to Boston, and then on to everywhere. He tells me that we’ll meet our people in all the places we go. And I want to. I’m craving an adventure so big that I will be different within it. But I have to work tomorrow. And the adventure I’m craving doesn’t require gas pedals and time, it only requires my whole and open heart still willing to let another ride shotgun there.

So, I press on to home. To my forgotten beanie and all of the warmth that resides within.

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