Nick and I absconded from our mutual place of confinement - Club Medication about 90 minutes ago. He is hoofing it down the train tracks somewhere off Highway 1. The sun and heat, pelting our backs and me: trudging down those same train tracks, trying not to get my feet caught in one of the rail ties and look even more ridiculous than I already do.
Remember, I am drinking a Corona, on fairly heavy anti-psychotics, carrying two plastic shopping bags and a huge cotton laundry sack. I need both hands - so I guzzle the beer and toss the bottle. Logic, in this state of hypomania, is not my strong suit. So now I am tipsy, probably annoyingly giggly, carrying what feels like the weight of a small three year old under each arm.
Nick is I don't know how many yards ahead of me. He has said nothing and certainly hasn't turned to see if I've been eaten by the hoards of black bears, which at this point I know are lurking in nearby bushes, sniffing for stumbling, slightly drunk, over-heated and over-burdened runaway female psych patients.
Nick has proved to be less than a gentleman. But he has the uncanny ability or I have the uncanny (unfortunate) weakness to still find him attractive. Go figure? Obviously the therapy and self-esteem work I've done so far hasn't really taken hold.
I am about ready to collapse, when I see Nick motioning me to get off the train tracks. I think it's because a train, which I haven't noticed because I've been concentrating so hard on not falling, is rattling down the very track I am on. So I begin to run - okay more like a ‘lurch n' jog' to get off the path.
"No! No!" Nick screams as he waves me over. He's smiling. He's just trying to get me follow him down a trail leading off the tracks. "Over this way." And he disappears into the bush. Hopefully he is finding me endearing and not ridiculously out of it.
But I can't take any more hiking. Nevertheless, I push my way through the thicket of blackberry bushes, punctuating my movements and all the pricks from the thorns with a loud necklace of four letter fricatives.
I finally catch up with Nick, my fearless and indifferent leader. We cut through more brambles, and then I see where he has taken me.
We open up onto a gorgeous sparkling cove of water, an ocean bay bordered by a pristine, almost completely deserted, canopied patch of beach. My jaw drops, as do my bags. I am officially awe struck.
"Our own ‘Blue Lagoon'." Nick grins, assuming I am old enough to get the nubile and naked Brooke Shields reference.
He moves towards a log, looking like he booked it just for us. He sits and pats the surface of it for me to plop beside him.
"Beautiful." I say, breathless - one, because I am so out of shape, and two, because it is one of the most stunning places I've ever seen.
"It gets better." He says nothing more. Read the next instalment (1-f) here.
© Victoria Maxwell