There is something about this green sweatshirt. We saw it on Saturday night, in the Gaslamp quarter of San Diego. I pulled it down off of the shelf, and held it up to him. "Do you want this?" I asked. His head hung down and he nodded like a floppy dog. "Ok that's it then." When he put it on, something happened to him. His eye emitted sparkles. He got impish. He started bouncing when he walked.
The next morning, we drove in confused circles and laughed till we cried in what started as an innocent search for Denny's and dolphins. After driving on to a navel base nowhere NEAR our destination, he told the guard, "Yeah, we're trying to get to SeaWorld." Their arm muscles flexed larger than his head as he smiled from his Shamrock Shake-colored robes. His smile radiated brighter than the California sun.
When we finally found SeaWorld, we skipped past the Budweiser Beer School in search of walruses and whales. He made us walk past the penguins three times in their perpetual night. Rescued manatees with injured tails and backs snuffed gingerly at the floating lettuce laid out for them. I held out my hands to the dolphins and they let me stroke their jellied foreheads. It was something like heaven.
Yesterday we slowly made our way home, leisurely winding up the coast in no particular hurry. We found ourselves on a jetty overlooking the ocean and thousands upon thousands of military gravesites lined up in perfect white rows on either side. It was Memorial Day, and families came with flowers and gifts for the dead. Every grave bears a small flag. We got very quiet.
The hotel bed kept him from achieving REM for two nights, and he is wiggy and beautiful. His three day scruff frames his disheveled hair as he muses aloud at how much he misses having a bicycle, how many of the happiest moments of his childhood were on his bike, alone, feeling the breeze push him away from his sadness. The words "I want a bike" are still hovering in the air as we turn a corner and see a lawn full of vintage bikes for sale. SCREEECH. Moments later, an old purple bike with streamers on the handlebars is chosen. It is an old and faded version of this. He is giddy. We head home full of sunlight and ocean, and he gives the bike a test run on our street. It is old and creaks and moans under his weight, but he moves the wheels with grace and agility. His smile is gorgeous in the last strains of sunlight. We embrace under the folds of his sweatshirt and sink into each other. It is, altogether, a perfect weekend.