I was flashed today.
It happened as I pulled back the curtains on my hotel room window. I was startled to find a set of voluptuous mountains popping out of the horizon. I stared, speechless. The rocky mounds flanked by swaying palms shimmied like some kind of hula dancer performing a show only I could understand.
Yesterday, outside the hotel I found a gathering of well-muscled, phallic cacti strutting around in the rock gardens. I could almost swear one of them whispered something dirty to me.
I’m nine years into a marriage. But I get weak in the knees when warm sun begins to massage my winterized flesh and achy blue sky winks at me wherever I turn. How can a girl stay faithful to her northern roots?
These trips out west, they’re almost like porn.
This latest tryst finds me pulling back the covers on a part-time lover named Arizona. He moves around a lot, changes his name. Sometimes he’s New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming or Montana. Always though, when we reunite, I melt into his broad shoulders, inhale his sage-scented coat of many colors and whisper promises of “someday.”
The torch was lighted in my childhood on a road trip to the Badlands and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and Devil’s Tower Monument in Wyoming. Throughout my youth, my family covered many miles of road stretching to all points on the compass. But it was the western sojourn that lodged itself in my psyche. Thirty some years later, the grip has not loosened.
It begs the question: Why haven’t I left Michigan? Can’t I divorce this Great Lakes relationship and run away with my Western lover?
The answer is always the same: The time is not yet right. I’ve had offers. I’ve had chances. But, I’m needed here — for now. I’m slowly preparing for my departure, saying my good-byes, biding my time.
Until then, I get my thrills any way I can.