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  • Because I have spent months trying to tell the story, written dozens of lines of half-truths that do not get to the honest spoken heart of you, I will stop trying to use the word love.

    The first time I saw the Pacific Ocean, we had been driving for fourteen hours, slept briefly on a logging road in a national forest in the trunk of my hatchback like vagabonds. 3:30 a.m., and the quiet of occasional midnight-commuters so distinctly on their way to somewhere. We were driving for the sunset in northern California. We took the 101 south from Washington the way no one ever does.

    When we arrived, I walked into the water alone. It was October. The two of us and a flock of gulls; you carried my shoes and photographed a bluff deserted but for hundreds of emptied crab shells, cracked and scattered open. We slept, we talked so little. I wanted to drive to Mexico. You turned us back to north.

    There are hundreds of beautiful moments, captured in memories like images in my mind; the bridge in Astoria that felt like a roller coaster with no drop, your hand reaching at a stop light to loosen the button of my jeans, Devil's Churn a roiling pit we explored at low tide, where I spoke to a man and his long-married wife who reminded me so much of myself, and we sat for a long time on a bench above the brine and you tied some part of yourself to my heart.

    There are dozens of half-truths that come and go in moments when I feel you the strongest. I know so little about where we are walking. But you drove with me all the way down the coast with bum headlights and nothing to eat and so few words. You watched my first taste of Pacific salt water. You drove so fast the whole way home.

    When finally we returned, you slept in my arms, our skin steaming in the cold of late fall.
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