…Continued from Part 1

Raising her empty glass to the last drop of day, she saw his smile reflected in the splash of sunset. Here she was at Joshua Tree Oasis—a vacation desert hideaway like none other on the planet and he was somewhere else. Another planet far away. Why hadn’t she told him where she was going? And why didn’t she have the courage to turn her cell phone on?

She heard a rustle in the cluster of cacti outside her bedroom and opening the door she saw a tiny frog looking at her with wide-eyed surprise. How could a little frog survive this moonscape environment? It had rained before she arrived and little bursts of wildlife were awakening from their summer dormancy. Joshua Tree Oasis was a veritable sanctuary of untouched natural beauty the likes of which she’d never experienced before. Cloaking herself in an Indian blanket she looked at her watch and listened to a great horned owl hoot on silent wings heading for a Juniper beyond the rocky surrounding cliffs.

What in the world could he be doing at 2 a.m., anyway? Back in the city, an art gallery was winding down a wild opening night. He watched the waning hour “grope and grab” as the inebriated guests filtered out into the night away from unsold paintings and sculptures and into waiting taxis, bar rooms and bedrooms nearby. The echoes of their liquored laughter bouncing off of department store windows, skanky mannequins in slinky nothings up to there; vapid stares glazing back at him. Did they see something he didn’t? Did they know where she was? He’d called her cell phone a hundred times. Nothing. She’d warned him. This wasn’t going to go anywhere. Their passion had hit the inevitable “no way to go” crossroads and neither of them knew how to take it where they both wanted to go. He knew what she knew. They had to let it go. But he couldn’t. What was the last thing she’d said to him? Something like, “You and I are hieroglyphics; we are each other’s cryptic signs.” She was a traveler. He knew her m.o. When things got to where they got right now, she’d find a way to follow a story from the Mekong river delta to the nomadic travels of Bedouins. She longed to go where sand dunes and sky touched. Suddenly he realized where she had gone.

The last of the fire was crackling to a close and she threw another log on it. A burst of embers filled the stone-embraced fireplace and she turned on Nora Jones, accompanying along in whispers, “Come away with me…” As the first light of dawn caressed the top of her head and cheek, a shiny raven flew past the hummingbird feeder outside the kitchen. She turned on the cell phone and called his office. Most of the time he worked through the night or arrived there in time to talk to his clients continents away. His assistant would be there, too. “Can I speak to him?” she asked. The assistant answered quickly, “You know he can’t stay away from you. He’s on a plane right now to join you in the desert.” She gasped. “He’s coming here to Joshua Tree Oasis?” Now it was the assistant’s turn to gasp. “Joshua Tree Oasis? No, darling. He’s heading for Dubai.”

Continued in Part 3…

– Cara Susan Granat