Palm Springs

Andy and I do one of those long weekend getaways to Palm Springs. The condo is Allie's mother's, and I think she uses it about once a year, because it's stale: puke green, over-exposed peach, and reprocessed, air-conditioned air. Andy thinks "get away" means get away from any standard of cleanliness, so the place will look like a frat house in a few hours.

We read for most of the day. Andy reads the three multimedia magazines he brought, and leaves them in the living room on the floor. Then he reads "Details" because the cover article is about alternative music, and he leaves it on the bed. I don't say anything because he tries really hard not to be a slob when we're at home. I do tell him that catching up on work-related reading is not a vacation, and he says that what he reads is his business. Then he starts reading this book, "Fuzzy Thinking," which I like because it seems like a less authoritarain view of science, and therefore a new possibility for the fertilizing of Andy's late-blooming feminism.

I read "The Ragged Way People Fall Out Of Love," and keep interrupting Andy with pieces of information about what we have to do to keep from breaking up when we have teenage kids like the people in my book are doing--like, we can't always be too tired for each other. All Andy gets out of this is that I'm talking about kids and we're not even married, and this makes him think that I think we're married, and he thinks because he's said this to me before that I think I don't need to mention kids anymore, but I don't think that. "Don't worry," I tell him, "This is just informative."

"That's not what I was thinking," he says. "I'm thinking that you obsessing about how long our relationship is going to last is not a vacation." He smiles. I smile.

We read some more. I've had boyfriends who accused me of being boring when I wanted to stay home and read. They would accuse Andy of being boring too.

Our view from the rancid living room is the sterile golf course-hole eight. There are other condos across the green, and they all look the same--not just architechture, but the gardening--to the point where things don't look real. The exceptions are the pools, which come up every five houses in different and surprising shapes, like a diamond and a star.

I bring a beach ball, and devise a game where you bounce the beach ball off your head and try to make it drop on the other person's side of the front yard. I make up the rules as we go along, but Andy plays anyway. Sometimes, when he thinks I'm cheating, he'll make up his own, counter-rule. Andy is a particularily bad athlete-he does things like step with his back foot when he swings a bat-so I was worried that any game I made up, Andy would be too uncoordinated to play, but he develops a way to bounce the ball off his head really hard, so that it drops too fast for me to catch, and he wins.

Andy makes dinner. He makes some sort of not-too-fishy tasting fish, and broccoli because he knows I like it. We eat late, so the temperature has dropped fifteen degrees to 100. We dine by candlelight, and attract zillions of bugs, which shouldn't even exist in the desert, but the whole climate changes with all the golf course watering.

For dessert, Andy whips up some gooey lime sauce for our ice cream cones, and he suggests we sit out by the pool--where we lick and we laugh dripping in lime, dangling toes in the blue.




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