A Monterey Summer day….
A Monterey Summer day
The poet sat alone drinking his coffee near the Monterey Bay. He was 35 years old and he felt like he had lived five lifetimes. The soldiers in his unit, they called him the old man.
He loved Monterey. In the past 14 months, he left Michigan, went to war and now he was blessed by the Pacific ocean near. He loved the lively small city, filled with musicians, writers, painters, crafters and poets. Old Monterey was one of Hemingway hangouts and he could feel the spirit of Hemingway, still in the taverns, by the sea. He loved the song of the sea-life singing day and night, their song to the sea and to their love. He was waiting for Bernadette. She was a fair-skin woman who draw the tourist faces for cash. She painted Big Sur and Monterey for pleasure and profit. She was a herbalist, painter, poet and self-declared healer. He loved the sound of her voice and she wanted to save him, from himself.
He loved her since his second week in Monterey at the Poetry reading. She came to him, sat with him and she held his hand. Bernadette asked him, was he okay? He told her, I don’t know. She befriended him, always ensuring he knew, he wasn’t alone.
He saw her in the distance, the Summer Monterey sea winds, moved her cotton dress and allowed him to see her strong beautiful legs, her long ginger hair dancing in the wind.
She came to him, handed him the coffee and the pastries. She kissed his face and his lips and she asked. Have you been waiting long? He smiled and he held her hands and he told her. Waiting make your arrival more wonderful.
She gave him a coy smile and she asked. Can I paint you today? He answered. My face isn’t so pretty, old lines and scars, make me look like a old Native American statue waiting for the sun to fall. She smiled and laughed. She told him. I do like old things, the ancient things. Can tell you a thousand stories if we look hard enough.
He told her, the Pacific is alive and well today. Could be a good day to suicide board the sea. She whispered, the boards are at home and you promised me San Francisco and to free-climb the fault line. He kissed her softly and he told her. San Francisco and the fault line. A promise is a promise. Truck had a full tank and I have money to be spend.
She looked at the sea and her eyes became sad. She asked him. Will you stay in the military? Have you decided? You have great skills, please Johnnie, do some good. A soldier life teaches you nothing. What did Hemingway and Salinger learn from war? War shall kill your kindness, war will teach you the taste of blood. Nothing else.
He caressed her hair and her beautiful face. He looked into her eyes of ocean blue. He told her. You saved me dear Bernadette, when death was near. Some of us are foolish, love war, love drink and we love new cities. Maybe the Gypsy soul need to travel to the unknown and test life.
She lost her smile and she whispered. I found you three months ago, you were sitting alone drinking the tequila on the rocks for dead brothers and dead love by the sea. You wanted to meet death and you were lucky. I found you after the poetry reading. Do you remember? I held you like a child and I sang songs to you in my bed till you could find sleep. You were fighting demons and ghosts.
He loved her voice when she spoke, her voice gentle, kind, honest and direct. He told her, you are my California blessing, my beautiful muse and my savior in my world of confusion. You showed me Big Sur, how to suicide board the Winter storms and to free climb the mountains. You showed me. The beautiful things, I could not see. I remembered you taught me how to Texas two-step in San Francisco and you taught me. I could laugh again. You made me understand, we cannot be fixed, maybe we suppose to learn from the past. Be kinder.
She wrapped her arms around him and she whispered. We need the San Francisco night life and we need our secret waterfalls in the fault lines. I told her. I have four days off, too much money and I have you. We will free-climb in the daylight and we will dance and drink in the city that never sleep in the night, San Francisco.
She smiles and she told him. Johnnie, time for the wars to end for you. We need to paint a perfect canvas where love is safe, wild and free. We must discover that life is more than war and work. Life is the sea, the mountains and the free valleys. We are not prisoners or desperate people. Our Gypsy hearts must see the beauty near.
Two people sat by the sea. Seeing and knowing, they have found their proper place to be.