We’d only been dating a few months when he said “Let’s take a trip.”
After countless hours on every travel website, we decided on San Antonio, Texas.
I had been to the River Walk once. Too long ago and so briefly, that I couldn’t remember much.
The one thing I do recall is, it was romantic.
I am a hopeless fool when it comes to love.
He gave me his credit card and we booked it.
* * *
The hotel was beautiful. Rustic. Charming.
A building that had formerly been a 3-story mercantile store in the 1880′s, had been transformed into a one-of-a-kind hotel. Beautiful hardwood floors. A huge, wide staircase. Words cannot describe it’s beauty. [My own personal photographs, below, reveal it's charm.]
Certain moments stand out in my mind.
Here are some random memories of that trip:
We bought a bottle of vodka on our first night. On the last day, half the bottle was still left. We decided to leave it in the bushes next to the hotel, hoping the homeless man we had seen there, might find it.
One night, we discovered an Irish pub-style bar along the River Walk. Buckets of peanuts on every table. Peanut shells covered the floor.
Those early months, he would always tell me, “I’m leaving. Don’t get too attached to me. See other people.”
His plan was to find a new job. Possibly in another country. He planned on leaving me and everything else, all behind.
It broke my heart hearing those words. He would say them often.
That night, I decided to test it out. A group of attractive guys had started talking to me.
I flirted back. A few minutes later, he appeared. He was angry. An exchange of hurtful words.
Finally one guy in the group said “You two are both mixed up. You two belong together.”
It makes me laugh now.
Another night, as we walked along the River Walk, holding hands, boats passed. Tourists snapping pictures.
I felt happy. In love. I didn’t want that feeling to ever end.
As a random boat passed us, I shouted out, “I love this man.”
It was completely spontaneous. But at that moment, I wanted the world to know I was in love.
Later that night, we saw a homeless man. He had a dog with him. A black lab with a hankerchief around his neck. I felt worse for the dog than I did for the man.
He reached into his pocket and took out a $20, and gave it to me. I handed the twenty to the man and asked him to feed his dog.
It’s that kind of generosity that made me love him.
[The dog and I are pictured, below.]
* * *
On our second day, we stumbled upon a small restaurant in the center of town. Small shops dotted the town center.
Musicians played in the street. We sat at a table outside. The sun was shining. The perfect day.
We ordered margarita’s, served in thick, giant glasses. The food was delicious.
It was mid-afternoon. We laughed and talked and people watched. We were both getting buzzed.
The sun started to set. It was late afternoon.
We walked back to the hotel. It was romantic. He held my hand. Kissed me. I felt so close to him. The sun was going down. The sky was a perfect shade blue.
Not a cloud to be found.
I remember that walk back to the hotel as clearly as if it happened last week.
I loved that man.
* * *
On the last day of the trip, his cell phone rang. It was early morning.
A close friend from home had died. After he hung up, we barely spoke.
We had gotten into an argument the night before. He was upset. I did not know his friend, but my heart broke for him.
Our flight was not until later that afternoon.
We walked down to the River Walk. We were both very quiet.
We sat outside a small restaurant and ordered margarita’s and fresh guacamole.
He asked me to go back home to Seattle with him for the funeral.
I felt hopeful. Meeting his family would be a big step.
Then he added that if I went, I would not be able to attend the funeral itself.
He explained that his exGF was a mutual friend and there was a chance she might be there, too.
He pointed out that it would be too hurtful for her, to see me there with him.
The sky was gray that day. Overcast. My heart felt gray, too.
How could this man I was so in love with- who said he loved me, too- choose his exGF’s feelings over mine?
There wasn’t enough tequila to make my hurt go away.
One week later, he went to the funeral. Alone.
* * *
Looking back, I am not sure why the trip to San Antonio is my favorite.
After writing this, I am not sure I ever want to go back.
Although we took many trips together, it’s more likely that this one stands out the most in my mind.
Maybe it was the hotel: romantic and rustic. The teddy bear that sat peacefully on our bed.
Maybe it was the margarita’s.
Maybe it was the charm of the city.
More likely, it was him.
None of this matters anymore.
Memories and photographs and tears won’t bring him back.
Seeing the photographs now from our trip brings back all those memories: some bad, but most of them good.
I’m not sure what else to say. Other than in my heart, I feel that if we went back there today, things would be different.
Maybe I’ll never find out.
Maybe it’s best that I never find out.
Hotel website: http://riverwalkvista.com/