Asked by a colleague, with whom I share a birthday, how I’d spent mine, I said, “On the tarmac, in Houston — they couldn’t get us to a gate for the better part of an hour and kept thanking us for our patience.”
A few hours of fitful sleep at a far-flung Hyatt down a road clogged even worse than the Expressway on its worst day, and we were back at the airport, at 5 a.m.
When, on nearing La Guardia, the pilot said we’d be circling for a while given the godawful weather, I clasped Mary’s hand (not the one with the heavily bandaged forefinger, which earned us preboarding status when she said if it were banged she’d probably bleed all over everyone) and asked if we had gotten around to updating our wills. When, every now and then, I see our lawyer at the dump, I say we’ll be in soon. I’ve been doing this now for about 10 years.
Oh, and when I say “we,” it is really she who sees to much of the dreck of our lives. And thus I wrote to her last night on her Valentine card: “Roses are red / violets are blue / I’m so exhausted / I bet you are too.”
It’s a long way to Zihuatanejo, it’s a long way to go, but it’s worth it. We love the Las Brisas hotel there, and the people. And though its structure, a sort of half-pyramid set into a high seaside cliff, may remind one of ancient sacrificial rites while ascending the steep stone stairs, it also is a paradise — a conflation that the crepes flambées we had at the Coconuts restaurant in town illumined.
“The sun, the sea, and thee,” I would say to Mary, looking up from yet another transcendental margarita. “Rather than shut up and listen,” as Sean Spicer has said, “we should shut up and look. If everyone did, what a wonderful world this might be.”
We had never, in all the years we’ve been going there, seen the baby turtles released. That usually happens around Christmas. This time, we saw the baby black leatherbacks make their unsteady but inexorable way into the vast, vast ocean twice, swept away at last by the ebbing surf. It was a wonder, yes, even more so than the Super Bowl, though on a par with the birth that day of our ninth grandchild. May her life be blessed as ours have been.