With tears in her eyes, Sasha said, “I could see it coming but I hoped you and dad would work it out. Tell me one more time how the two of you got together. I love that story.”
Sasha and I sat on Flagler Beach watching the sunrise. I chose the ocean as the place to tell my twenty-year old daughter about the end of a love story that started on a California beach three decades earlier. Life had come full-circle.
After twelve months on the road sharing a VW bus with Victor, I thought I knew everything about him. We were sitting on a bench in the ashram meditation garden, looking out at the ocean. The sun was slipping out of sight, creating an orange glow, erasing the horizon. Sky and water became one.
Out of the blue, Victor squeezed my hand and said, “I am going to become a monk and follow the Guru on his world tour.”
Jaw open, eyes wide, breath in my throat, I managed a confused, “What?”
The next day I moved out of the bus and into the ashram. On the upside, after a year living a Buddhist life style I was drug-free, sober and healthy. My thoughts were clear and my heart open. On the downside, I was three thousand miles from home with no money or transportation. I’d cut ties with my family five years ago. Plus they would never understand my lifestyle choices. There was no point in reaching out to them. I would have to figure out on my own what to do next.
* * *
I attended as many lectures, yoga classes and evening sessions with the Guru as I could, hoping for some insight about the future.
It was impossible to avoid Victor. When our paths crossed I held my head high, looked him in the eye and nodded silently.
Living in the ashram required thirty hours of service each week. When possible I worked in the kitchen. There was something meditative about preparing food for residents and guests. I spent most of my kitchen time working side-by-side, laughing and flirting with Henry, another lost soul.
When not in the kitchen Henry and I explored the ashram grounds. Nestled between the ocean and mountains on the California coast, we found lots of places to disappear from view, or so we thought.
Word got back to Victor that I had moved on and was seeing someone else. Suddenly I was more interesting. He would stop me in hallways to talk and he would sit next to me during morning meditation.
One day he asked, “Would you let me buy you dinner Friday? There’s a new vegan restaurant in town. I hear it’s pretty good.”
And so the courting began.
* * *
This was a very different Victor than the one I’d followed around the country. He seemed focused, considerate and interested in something besides himself. One night he prepared a picnic and took me to the beach to watch the sunset.
He popped open a bottle of champagne and popped the question, “Will you marry me and create our future as we live in the present, one day at a time?”
At a loss for words, I put the top back in the bottle and threw it in the ocean.
“If the bottle floats, my answer is yes.”