You could think that way if you wanted to, it was a funny way to think. Like you could go back for a redo. I’d been thinking that way for a while leading up to February. It was right when the shit hit the fan with the Corona two years ago. They said it was here now and the sanitizer was coming out but not the masks so much, anyone wearing masks I looked upon with distrust like they had something to hide. We had plans for Disneyland, our first time. The kids were almost old enough they’d outgrown it already. And the four of us all pale and blanched from the mossy Northwest headed down to sunny California. And me at the airport by the gate ordering a beer with my breakfast and the waitress coming back to see if I wanted a refill and me shaking my head (don’t be ridiculous!) but having to really think about it, having to weigh my options in that state, the tipping up and taking off.
I wanted a redo because I spent too much of that trip drinking in our hotel room at night. The room wasn’t much to speak of and nor were the drinks but the hangovers were truly remarkable. And three in a row! A hat trick as they say in sports. And it went unacknowledged but expected, and when we got home the virus started about the same time I started a new job and everyone got scared shitless and then really started drinking, started messaging each other about their drinking, like this is the end of the world so I’m tapping into the good stuff, and then they all mobbed the stores for toilet paper.
So to think we managed a trip to Disneyland without getting sick, with thousands of snotty kids and free breakfast buffets where everything’s laid out under heat lamps, well that’s remarkable too. Dawn whipped out traveler size bottles of sanitizer before meals, but that’s about it. And what a place to be hungover with all those sounds and kids and colors. Even the sun was hard to confront. And my clothes wet all day from a water ride, having to just stand there in line like that with wet clothes, I did it as a kind of penance no one even acknowledged or credited me for, my secret.
I wanted a redo, to go back as a family sometime sober, but that probably wouldn’t happen. Instead we made plans for Laguna Beach, near LA. I added the location to my weather app like adding a new playing card to my hand, deal me in. And just the anticipation lifted me up. It was a tingling, a magical sensation impossible to describe. Not alcohol or drugs, life. Life combined with youth and imagination. Both a yearning for what would be and an immense appreciation for what was. In fact there was more of it than I could take in, and maybe that’s what caused the tingling. Flutters in the heart, butterflies. I wrote it down because it had been so long, I wanted to remember it. What it felt like to be high on life. Touching down once more, what’s real.
I could sit there watching that moon plump up in the evening sky like a river rock floating in a thick black pool, all pockfaced and sallow with empty seas for eyes, an empty mouth. It spilled out across the whole night sky and lit up the dark roads below. I could drive all night like this. I was feeling clear-headed and bright. We had plans to be somewhere, we were going away.