You don’t say no to a person like Alex. When they ask you to come along for the ride, you say yes, because yes is the only option.
Adventure is subjective, a thing people seek in various contrary ways. The guy in the motorhome next to me is pulling four snow-mobiles, coming or going, I’m not sure, but what I do know is he’s heading somewhere white, cold and outside. Me, I’m warm here, in our dark car, heading South, away from where she fled years ago, towards where we came together, under desert stars.
She yawns and I think yeah baby, me too. Driving takes it out of you. But we’ve only just started this journey together and I’m not ready to stop, even for a brief rest. I want to get to our destination: a cozy coffee shop corner where I can curl up with a red pen and the first draft of my book.
Alex came into my life when I’d sworn off dating, so it’s only approriate that each of our adventures has come at a time when I’ve sworn off traveling. Want to drive from Wisconsin to San Diego with me Wednesday?! Alex texted as I spent my Sunday digging out from a pile of work placed on me during a ten-day speaking tour of the Pacific Northwest. Hell no, I thought, as I added another item to my to-do list.
But I can’t say no to Alex. When she asks me to come along for an adventure, I say yes, because yes is the only option.
We hadn’t seen each other in three weeks, something that can happen in a long-distance relationship between two highly busy people. The last time I had seen her, she crawled on top of me and kissed me good-bye, a bittersweet kiss full of tears, as we had fought the night before about issues relating to triggers and communication. I was sad to see her go, sad to still be sad and now without the comfort of her arms.
I cried into the phone the night she invited me along, afraid to take this adventure with her, afraid of what her family would think of this broken, needy, fat, awkward, dykey, loud, opinionated, quirky person she is dating, afraid I was something she would want to hide, afraid I’d drown in my work, max out my credit cards, annoy her with my off-key singing, talk too much, want to stop too much, be too much.
“Do you want to come with me?” Alex asked.
“Why would you want me to come with you?” I asked, in response.
“Do you want to come with me?” Alex repeated.
“Desperately so,” I said.
“That’s why I want you to come with me.” Alex said, followed by a lot of really beautiful words about her love for me that made me start crying all over again.
So here we are, driving somewhere between meeting her family (we loved each other) and the first stop on our cross-country road trip, right next to an antique mall with a rather risque cow flipping her skirt up to expose her udders. Alex’s driving, I’m writing and occasionally we’re singing along to our favorite songs or pointing out a funny roadside attraction.
“Maybe we can take a nap when we get there,” she says, grabbing my hand. “Cuddle a bit before going out to meet your friends.”
I don’t say no to her. I say yes, because when it comes to adventures with Alex, I want to always say yes.