Published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel under the pen name Elizabeth Rose. Chris is known as “Jason” in the I Heart stories.
It has been almost three and a half years since we met that day in Big Sur.
At that time, I was mid-adventure on HWY-1. Drawn to a sign on the side of the road that had been cracked in pieces from a fallen tree, the word “Library” drew me further in.
Beyond the fence rests a raspy, wooden cabin in the middle of a redwood clearing.
The Henry Miller Library made my writer’s heart skip a beat.
It skipped two beats after I caught a glimpse of the attractive guy behind the counter.
My “Hi!” turned into a “May I take your picture?”
He was kind to oblige. I was bold.
A day later, I sent an email to the library.
“Attn: Cute Boy Who Worked Monday 2/4/2013.”
I included the image and thanked him for engaging in my photo adventure.
The next day, he wrote back.
About The Cute Boy Who Worked Monday 2/4/2013
Our friendship grew in an old-world kind of way, through letters revealing bits and pieces of our lives.
This boy from New Jersey, a skilled musician and recovering accountant, became my pen pal.
As you may imagine, it’s quite entertaining for two writers to get acquainted through the written word.
Years evolved and we did, too.
He was “around” through many big changes in my life. Like when I moved from the East Coast to live in California and throughout my journey as a working writer.
We had intimacy on an unusual level – we created a space to express ourselves without revealing all the facets of who we really were.
Face To Face
Last summer, he passed through town and we met at Rincon Brewery in Carpinteria.
No sparks, but it was nice to reconnect and answer any “what ifs”.
After that, we lost touch.
Or, I quit writing back.
Maybe I was a little embarrassed.
It wasn’t until I yearned to get out of the bubble of Santa Barbara and into the void of Big Sur that I surfaced.
Subject line: “Long time…”
If anything, I wanted to clear the air and say hello.
Most likely with a tail between my legs.
He was happy to hear from me, offered a place to stay, even a trip to Esalen if I was interested.
But the best part of his gracious offer was the freedom to relish in Big Sur at will.
From Big Sur to Big Sir.
Several days later, we were face to face, stripped and unclothed in the hot springs on the cliffs of Big Sur.
The ice broke earlier that evening from dinner at Nepenthe and a jam session to the Screaming Trees blaring from the tape deck in my car as we roamed south along the highway.
That evening, I camped under a full moon-lit sky but took the offer to crash at his place for the following two nights.
And so began my Big Sur life.
He’d leave for work at the library at 9:30 a.m.
I’d have breakfast, go on an adventure, then swing by the library to schedule a time to reconnect later that night.
Aside from a cozy shelter in the woods, he gifted me a place to call home and the potential to become a part of Big Sur. A temporary local. Living a dream.
I was able to play in the waters, run wild in the mountains, and connect with my true self with the confidence of knowing I had a safe place and a friend waiting for me.
He flew to N.J. a few days later to visit family and I homesteaded on Prewitt Ridge for my final two nights.
My last day in Big Sur was a struggle. It hurt to leave.
I fled from Santa Barbara to be alone but was met with the love and support of human connection.
My intuition pulled me to the wild coast.
But our special friendship comforted me to stay.