This is my favorite memory of you.
Three days after I turned twenty-two, you picked me up outside of my house. Phone in hand, you were checking the roads, to see which route was the fastest to L.A. I thanked you again and again, and you said it was no problem, and I said I couldn’t believe you were doing this for me, and you just smiled. We were on the freeway before ten and the traffic was light. You drove on the winding road that wrapped around the hills—next exit, Forest Lawn, next exit, Griffith Park, next exit—I tell you I haven’t been to the Observatory since elementary school, that I hardly remember what it’s like, and you say that you’ve gone often with your boyfriend, and I don’t say anything.
We get into L.A. just before 11, and we make our way to the Dolby Theatre. The streets are congested and the sun is shining; it’s warm for early November, and everyone is walking around in shorts and t shirts and sundresses. The GPS tells us to make a left, and then another left, until we find our way into the back end of a parking garage. A tour bus rumbles past and there are crowds of people on foot. Inside the garage, we find a space and leave the car at the same time a number of photographers exit their own vehicles. We wonder if they’re headed to the same place we are. I’m anxious, and you understand—you don’t call attention to it—you just let it pass, and as we ride the escalators up one floor, two, three, I can feel the anxiety growing but in a good way. We break out into the sunshine and walk around the corner where the event is still being set up. Somehow, we make it up to the front, right against the railing that barricades the crowd from the Walk of Fame Ceremony where my favorite actor, my crush since the age of eight, is receiving his star. I keep telling you I can’t believe it, and you just smile and tell me happy birthday, and the air is frenzied and then he walks out. You stand behind me the entire time and tell me later it’s because you wanted to catch me in case I fainted from excitement. We laugh at that, partly because we know there was a good chance it might’ve happened.
After the ceremony, we drive through the crowded streets to the Grove. The cool GPS voice tells us which turns to make until we approach The Grove Drive. We park by the Farmer’s Market and walk through the mall to see there’s a movie premiere going on—something we haven’t even heard of, but it’s no less exciting. It’s well into the afternoon as we walk through the cobbled streets of the Grove, past the clothing stores and back into the Farmer’s Market where we stop for a coffee. I hug you tightly and thank you again. You don’t hug me back, but you’re smiling and you wave my thankyous away—of course, you say. On the way home the sun sets slowly behind us—pink sky, glowing gold, beginnings of blue. It still looked like summer.