Tahkenitch Landing, OR
”And I wrote in my journal, and I described my ideal partner. He should be an Okie or an Arkie, he should be down to earth, and he should let me be me without having to explain myself.”
Phil and Viv met for the first time when they were pre-teens. Both of their families had migrated from Oklahoma to the Central Valley of California, where they ended up neighbours on adjacent farms. They hung out, then dated. After the prom, Phil took Viv for dinner at the local drive-in; she was not impressed. That was the beginning of the end.
We sat in their trailer, the three of us, drinking tea and talking for nearly three hours. Viv was a tea connoisseur and attended tea conferences. Phil had a big smile and a patient demeanor. Viv chose the photo of the three girls because it made her laugh. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer the year before; a change in diet had helped push it into remission. She teared up as she told me, because she was ”so afraid of losing him.” She grabbed his knee; he put his hand overtop hers.
They stayed in touch through two marriages each. One time, after her marriage to Nick the Greek but before the Punjabi guy, he took her for a ride on his motorcycle: ”I think you kissed me,” she said. Phil smiled. It took a chance meeting in the supermarket parking lot a month after Viv’s divine wish in her diary for their relationship to change again. ”When are we going to do this?”, she asked, seemingly out of the blue; at the time, he was still in his 2nd marriage, on his way out.
”How about now?” And that was that.