Written with my Thursday night group with the prompts: he had no passport, typing blind, a friend went with me, winds off of Carmel, you can smell the money, true love, it was a surprise to me, Carol are you there, critter, does the door open, how do I look, junk drawer, he wants to but, guilty pleasure
He has no passport so I offer to create one for him. He is skeptical, knowing that I am blind, but as we speed down the coastal highway, winding away from Carmel, he relents. Confessing true love, true love, true love, he tells me he will follow wherever I lead. This comes as a surprise to me. Can I trust this sudden declaration?
“Carol,” he asks me, “are you there?”
A friend goes with me and I bring my emotional support critter as well. We venture down to the artisan market, my right hand on the coyote’s leash, my left hand on my friend’s shoulder for support. They guide me, describing the quality of paper and ink, the authenticity of national seals and rubber stamps. “How does it look?” I ask again and again, but my friend knows that doesn’t matter. When we get to the border, the most important thing will be the way the paper smells. This is my talent as well as my guilty pleasure: I can concoct a scent that will overwhelm the sight of fraudulent letterheads and verbiage, that will make the texture of the embossed paper irrelevant. We will find the spices in a shop around the corner, but I won’t decide what I need until we get there. I will simply know.
Sometimes I use lavender, other times rosemary. Fennel has become a recent favorite. But of course the secret ingredient is kept hidden in my kitchen junk drawer, and I will never reveal what that is.
“Carol, are you there?” he asks again.
I am typing blind on my special laptop. The passport is almost ready, and then we may leave. We can leave right now or we can wait till morning. I know he wants to, but I sense hesitation. “Does this door open?” he asks and I know he is seeking escape. I can take him where he claims he has always wanted to go, to a land of big trees with deep roots. But he doubts, and I know he always will.
“You are an oak,” he tells me.
“No,” I correct him. “I am a redwood.”
“Always the Californian,” he says, and I admit it is true. Perhaps it is I who will not leave.
I give him the passport. He may use it when he’s ready. We both know he won’t stay forever.
Photo by Convertkit on Unsplash