It was the summer of that same year when I first visited Sausalito, California. I had just ended yet another unfulfilling relationship and needed to get away. My true love was living in Sausalito while I was living on the east coast of America. The moment I stepped foot in this small bayside community I felt it was where I was supposed to be. I didn’t realize why at the time. It was just a feeling; a calmness and almost magnetic pull the town had on me. I was completely at peace here.
I’ll never forget the flight back east after that first trip. As I was reading the in-flight magazine on Southwest Airlines, I came across a small photo and paragraph that read –
YES, YOU WILL LEAVE YOUR HEART HERE.
Sausalito. “The journey rivals the destination. It’s dusk.
The evening air is cooling and about a billion tiny bits
of weightless light appear like syncopated beacons across
the landscape. The San Francisco Bay is still.
You board a ferry. It sounds a horn.
You cuddle up under a blanket of nightfall.
You’re on your way to Sausalito.
Have fun. Fall in love”.
I cut out that paragraph and put it in my journal. I knew it was something of significance, even though the idea of moving to California was far beyond my imagination. Over the course of the next decade, my love and I would travel the globe and finally end up on opposite sides of it. Somehow though, I always believed he would come back to Sausalito. In those years I had a couple pretty superficial relationships, but no commitment. Every time things would advance to a new level, I would find a way to break it off. My heart belonged to one man. I simply couldn’t bring myself to love anyone else.
That all changed abruptly in November, 2010. I had met Zach, a lanky fellow who loved the outdoors and was a font of knowledge when it came to the most random of subjects. We ran in the same circles and became friends during the summer. We were both committed to others, yet we enjoyed spending time with one another. He had a way of making me feel special, loved, and of course, that was something I longed for. We lived near one another and would go hiking together and to the beach. He would tell me stories and we’d laugh out loud. I really enjoyed our times together. He was an escape for me, I suppose.
I was technically single, although I longed for this one soul who was six thousand miles away. Despite filling my life with good friends and things that fulfilled my basic needs, my heart ached for the one I couldn’t escape. Everywhere I turned there was something that reminded me of him, as if a piece of his soul had remained in Sausalito. I was convinced he would come home and we would find our way back to one another.
I had quite a bit going on in my life at that time. I was nearing completion of my Masters program at the University of San Francisco, working on my thesis, running a consulting business, and trying to find ways to make money before my savings ran out. I was operating on overdrive, so the occasional trip to the beach or the Marin Headlands was a welcome departure. Little did I know that one stupid mistake would change the course of my life in ways I couldn’t begin to imagine.
One fateful November day as I approached my 40th birthday, Zach came over so we could spend some time together. I had a beautiful home high in the headlands of Sausalito with a view of the houseboats and Belvedere Island across Richardson Bay. I felt blessed to live there, even though it was becoming a financial burden. We caught up on what was happening in each other’s lives, and ended up lying on the sofa together. Then the desires we were both feeling took over. He wrapped his arms around me and slid his hand up and down my body. It was so nice being close to him although I kept wishing it was my love the entire time. My body longed for one connection; my heart for another. He took off his shirt and then his pants; and I too undressed. As we caressed each other, he kissed me then raised himself above me.
The more we kissed, the more I yearned for more. I wanted desperately to feel that closeness, that physical connection with another person. To me sex was something sacred so I always held back in other relationships as I wanted a commitment. This time however, I no longer fought the urges. At first my body rejected him, then it opened up and soon he was inside. It ended quickly and we just lay silently in each other’s arms. His face displayed a look of satisfaction – mine, one of horror. What had I done? Emotions consumed my entire being and the guilt was suffocating. I had been faithful to this one soul for as long as we had known one another, and in this moment of weakness, I felt I had betrayed the one I loved.