Excerpt One (from Chapter One):
The handsome musician meets my gaze, thus accepting the mission appointed to him by the architect of my life. He’s to survey the site, assess the structure of the existing foundation and take whatever means necessary to prepare the grounds for the blueprint of my destiny.
If I possessed the awareness of this mission, or the manner in which he’ll execute it, I’d return to the safety of my beach chair by the turquoise ocean. Since I do not, I settle onto the couch just in front of the stage and pull my journal from my beach bag. I never feel alone in social environments with my journals, my faithful traveling companions. As the musician announces that this will be his last song, I begin to detail things I already know, as if writing for an audience instead of journaling for myself.
As have most major events in my life, this February adventure began with Mom. I wouldn’t be here if her doctor hadn’t suddenly developed diagnostic abilities and informed her that she has MS – and has for decades. I’m grateful it took so long; the moment she learned of her disease, she became one with it, taking on symptoms she hadn’t yet possessed. Her most recent one is falling.
My fear has forced me past denial, to the realization that she is a mortal being. Someday, she won’t be here. Hopefully that day is very far in the future but it’s time to stop revolving the planet of my life around her axis. This trip to Florida has been my first step in extracting myself from the web of our enmeshment. It’s been so hard, emotionally; I miss her so much! And something tells me I’m not even going to be on my flight home next week.
I glance up at the musician, who is looking right at me again, as if to validate the truth of these words. Chills rush through my spine. I feel the buzz of anticipation as I imagine him approaching and offering to buy me a drink. It’s a vivid scene in the coming attractions of my heart. The giddy feeling is accompanied by a twinge of trepidation, the same feeling I’d have looking down at a black diamond trail as I’m about to ski for the first time in years.
I know something big is going to happen before I head back to New York, because this many stars don’t align without reason. So many intricate details had to fall into place this past month to lead me here to this improbable moment, running into this man for the second time this week! Even today had to roll exactly as it did. The hotel clerk had to let me check in five hours early. I had to leave the beach at the precise moment people were smoking outside the open windows of my room. The manager had to upgrade me to a suite and give me a gift card for this tiki bar to enjoy while they cleaned it.
I look up from my journal to take in my surroundings, but all I see is the musician. I was magnetized by his striking face the other night, but he’s somehow even more attractive today. I have a thing for five o’clock shadows and he wears one better than most. I love his spiked hair, the tips of which are lighter than the rest, and his forearms and biceps, which dance rhythmically as he strums his guitar. His eyes are so green, they look fake.
I’ve been an avid music lover all my life and have been to more live shows than anyone can count, but I’ve never heard someone play quite like this. Nevertheless, there is something deeply familiar about his music. My soul has known it – and him – far longer than since I first laid eyes upon him a few nights ago.
He looks at me again and announces he’s going to play one more song. Everyone cheers. I close my eyes to take him in with a sense I mistakenly presume will be safer than vision. He plays the opening notes of a classic guitar riff, which is somehow even better than the original. The mystifying sound of his guitar vibrates through my heart and electrifies the feelings that are already swirling through it, as if he’s plugged my heart into his amplifier.
I tell my journal about the first time I laid eyes and ears upon him. It humors me, acting surprised as if it wasn’t with me on that fateful day, also.
The other patrons join me in applause as the song and set end. The musician thanks us and wishes us a sacred Sunday with his sexy Latin accent. He puts down his guitar and makes a beeline for me.
I take a deep breath into my heart and let it begin.
Excerpt Two (from Chapter Two)
“What you writing?” the musician asks in broken English after introducing himself. He’s not the first man to use my propensity to sit alone and write as a conversation starter, but he seems authentically curious, unlike those who work it into a pickup line.
My journal is my screening process. Those who ask if I’m writing them a love letter guarantee it will be a short conversation. This one isn’t going to be.
As if glimpsing a scene from my future, I glance down at my journal before responding. As far as I know today, this entry is just one of thousands, or maybe even millions, I’ve written since being gifted my first latch and key diary in childhood. Journaling is something I do on the most ordinary days of my life. Nothing about this day is ordinary.
Neither of us has any way of knowing that the words I’ve just written will inspire the first chapter of a book someday. The book will be based upon a blog that will invite people to reach out by the droves with their own stories about a topic I now know little to nothing about. Life is interesting like that.
“I’m journaling about this experience,” I respond. “And all the synchronicities that led to me arriving here today.”
“That’s inspirational,” he says. We discuss our expressions of creativity, and how we came to be the musician and the writer whose lives have intersected in this moment. He began playing guitar when he came to the United States because playing music from home made him feel less homesick. I came to Florida to publish a book without my New York distractions. I share my dream of traveling the world on a bestselling book tour.
“What is book about?” he asks. It’s not a question I’ve learned to answer with an elevator speech, so my response of “love and relationships” is generic and not entirely accurate. But it initiates a conversation about dating.
He is upfront about the fact that he is divorced and has a daughter who lives with him. I share that I’m not currently dating anyone but am planning to meet the man who inspired the male lead of my novel for coffee when I get back to New York.
“Is he your future?” the musician asks.
“I guess I’ll find that out in the future,” I reply. “But I live in the now.”
The musician smiles in a way that almost makes me forget how much I’ve been looking forward to seeing “Zak” for the first time in years.
That evening, we ride alongside the ocean, through patches of palms and tropical plants. It’s a stunningly beautiful night, the first balmy one I’ve experienced since arriving in South Florida. Nature is crisper than usual; everything is in such sharp focus. The aroma of the salty sea air is so strong, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore so vivid. My senses feel like they’re on steroids. I feel so connected with all that is.
As we ride, the topics of our conversation go much deeper than I’m accustomed to on a first date. I am surprised by how open this man is; his vulnerable stories are the type you share when you really know and trust someone. I feel honored.
“I have a feeling I’m going to remember this night for a very long time,” he expresses. I concur. Our connection had been in the making for a long time, just waiting for my yes.
I don’t yet realize what it is I’m actually saying yes to.
Excerpt Three (from Chapter Five)
In case moving in with someone I’ve known less than a week and considering eventually uprooting my life for him aren’t sufficiently certifiable things to do, I find a way to up the insanity ante.
I decide I’m also going to marry him.
Becoming betrothed has always been glaringly absent from my bucket list. I am the queen of the honeymoon phase. I love the magic of first kisses. I love new love!
Love isn’t blindness; it’s the complete opposite of such. It’s the ability to see another clearly through the eyes of the soul, beyond personality, projection and past experiences. The blindness part sets in when we start seeing through the lens of ego, and the illusion of separation forces one to become two again.
Once my ego gets hold of the reins, it tends to steer me in the exact opposite direction of my relationships. It seems like a good time to change that. Assuming I get refocused soon, I will be publishing a book with the intention of helping others navigate relationships more easily. Isn’t it time to stick around when things get a little uncomfortable with one of my own?
I’ve decided I’m going to see this one through, come what may. I trust in my ability to primarily focus on the good in this man, since there is so much of it, and the higher purpose of our connection. I trust we are both evolved enough to support one another through whatever challenges arise in our relationship and get through them together.
My first marriage proposal is inspired by an even higher reason. I’m a giver by nature; if there is a way to improve someone else’s life, I usually make that choice, sometimes at my own expense. The musician already has my love, a love so strong it wants to provide another priceless gift: the prospect of a green card.
I empathize with how tough his life in the US has been without one, how much he’s struggled in over a decade in this country. I can’t imagine life without the rights I take for granted here. I have the power to make life easier for him and his daughter and even if we don’t last forever as a couple, I figure we’ll always be friends.
I can think of no good reason not to do this, other than the completely obvious ones – like the fact that I’ve known him all of about eight seconds. Still. Not offering would feel like owning a castle and not letting anyone else stay there.
We are fittingly enjoying a romantic dinner at a restaurant from his country of origin when the inspiration arrives. I express my offer instantaneously, before I have a chance to think myself out of it.
Like a child who has received the exact present he’s always wanted on Christmas, his face lights up. His eyes fill with tears, but then his expression goes blank. He looks down and begins to play with a straw wrapper. Uh oh.
“I have something to confess,” he says, his eyes avoiding the piercing gaze of mine.
I am not at all sure I want to know what it is.
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