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Shrimp. Part 15

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Later that evening, after the guests had gone home and the party cleaned up, Shrimp and I took a walk through the Presidio to talk about our plans. We wound up at Fort Point, at the old brick military building underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, where the Hitchc.o.c.k Vertigo Vertigo movie lady with the freaked-out eyebrows jumped into the freezing cold Bay and poor chump Jimmy Stewart had to dive in to rescue her. movie lady with the freaked-out eyebrows jumped into the freezing cold Bay and poor chump Jimmy Stewart had to dive in to rescue her.

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We sat down on the ledge at the water, our feet dangling over the Bay. I am not a drag-the-moment-out type of girl, so I just came out with it. I told Shrimp, "If I'm going to be on an island, I want one that's a city at the center of the universe, not one that's its own nation at the bottom of the world. I don't want to be so far from my family. If I wanted to be married, I would want you for my husband and life partner, but no way am I ready to be married yet. Can't we go to New York instead?"

Shrimp answered like from a script, like he'd been practicing what to say when the moment of truth came. "I want to surf, to travel, to paint, without the burden of a steady job or the need to make rent. It's both our freedoms I want." He breathed on my neck like how I love, and while I didn't push him away I pulled back from him so we were looking at each other eye to eye.

"You say it's both our freedoms you want, but really I think its yours you want."

He rubbed the kiwi ring that I'd moved from my toe up to my finger. "If that was true, would I have made you this?" he asked. He brought my finger to his lips.

"Yes," I stated, though I did not stop his finger sucking. He's an artist; that's what he does--speak through his art. But a kiwi ring was about his desire to go to New Zealand and not lose me at the same time, not about his desire to marry me. I don't want to be a wife because Shrimp is hedging his bets. "You have to choose between New Zealand and your girlfriend."

"I can't," he mumbled, letting go of my finger.

I kissed him long and hard so he would know that when I took my mouth from his, there was no bitterness to my words. "You just did, baby."

267.

I could feel the relief in his mouth when he leaned back in to kiss me. We didn't need words to finish this conversation. Hands, bodies, and lips could take care of the rest of our conversation, in private, in the back of that legacy Pinto.

268.

Chapter 39

If my life was a movie, here is where my closing scene voice-over would tell you (in lame-actress voice filled with precocious teen melancholy and uber-wisdom) that, was a movie, here is where my closing scene voice-over would tell you (in lame-actress voice filled with precocious teen melancholy and uber-wisdom) that, I I thought my year was all about Shrimp, but, in fact, it was really all about me. thought my year was all about Shrimp, but, in fact, it was really all about me. A quick clip montage would remind moviegoers searching for the last vestiges of popcorn from the bag on the sticky theater floor that, along with falling crazy deep in love (but not crazy koo-koo, like last time), I also became a member of my own family and found out there are chicks my own age who are actually cool and friend-worthy. Well, technically I only made two new friends, and I have to disagree with Danny--I DO deserve a triple bonus score for Autumn, but that doesn't make me like her or Helen any less, or take away from the fact of: girlfriends. A quick clip montage would remind moviegoers searching for the last vestiges of popcorn from the bag on the sticky theater floor that, along with falling crazy deep in love (but not crazy koo-koo, like last time), I also became a member of my own family and found out there are chicks my own age who are actually cool and friend-worthy. Well, technically I only made two new friends, and I have to disagree with Danny--I DO deserve a triple bonus score for Autumn, but that doesn't make me like her or Helen any less, or take away from the fact of: girlfriends.

The life-as-movie montages would bleed into that last scene with the all-important soul mate and true love. Insert over that scene a soundtrack song by folky-arty singer with stringy hair who basically sounds like a bored white person, and watch as Shrimp and I have our fade-into-the-sunset good-bye at dusk on the rare sunny day at Ocean Beach, right as the big red sun falls over the horizon on the Pacific. Our good-bye would be bittersweet; not a dry eye in the house as the two lovers take off their separate ways. But then--surprise! Don't leave the theater quite yet, kids, 269.

because there I am popping up next to Shrimp on the plane to New Zealand, giving him some snarky comment about not letting him get to see the flip side of the universe without me, and blessings on the screenwriter for throwing the word antipodean antipodean into the final dialogue before the big screen kiss. True love, fading into the sunset as the plane travels over dusk skies. Roll credits. into the final dialogue before the big screen kiss. True love, fading into the sunset as the plane travels over dusk skies. Roll credits.

In the not-movie starring the not-movie-star Cyd Charisse, we got the Ocean Beach last scene, but on what had to be the most frigid, fog-ridden day of the year-- seriously, you could see our bodies cutting through the mist as Shrimp and I walked along the beach. At least in New York when you get that cold, you get snow too. You can do stuff with snow. You can't do anything with fog.

New Zealand was an interesting prospect, and I'm sure the costume changes merited by the new culture alone would have been worth the trip, but in the end I decided to split the difference with my family. I won't be going Down Under, but I will move to New York. I will be Danny's roommate for a while, get a cafe job, and take some cla.s.ses at that culinary school where Danny will be teaching, and if I like it, maybe I will apply to the Culinary Inst.i.tute of America next year.

I'm not going to New York alone, it turns out--my triple bonus score is coming along too. Autumn surprised us all by turning down Cal in favor of a scholarship and mucho mucho student loan debt at Columbia, so we're gonna conquer Manhattan together. Helen, who you'd think would be the one most eager to escape to freaktown NYC, is staying home in California. She got rejected by the art schools she wanted--apparently Ball Hunter is "derivative"--but Helen student loan debt at Columbia, so we're gonna conquer Manhattan together. Helen, who you'd think would be the one most eager to escape to freaktown NYC, is staying home in California. She got rejected by the art schools she wanted--apparently Ball Hunter is "derivative"--but Helen 270.

surprised us more than Autumn by deciding to go to UC-Santa Cruz, where she's going to show those f.u.c.khead art school people wrong. She won't admit it, but although Helen said her choice allows her to stay close to her boyfriend, the dirty truth is, I think Helen wasn't ready to be so far from Mommy yet.

Gingerbread is doing a reverse retirement, like Sugar Pie, and has been permanently liberated from Ash's captivity (Ash says she is getting "too old" for dolls anyway-- yeah, right), so she's coming along to Nueva York with Autumn and me. Fifth-floor walk-ups are a b.i.t.c.h, though, so Gingerbread's probably just gonna hang out on my bed in Greenwich Village.

I understand now how Danny and Aaron can still love each other, but they're still over, done, finito. done, finito. Why does it hurt more to lose someone you love than someone you despise? Shrimp and I both understand: I love you, you love me, but you're going your way and I'm going mine, and let's not fool ourselves into believing one of us will be waiting around for the other. We will never be that couple who lies and says, "We'll always be friends," because we won't. We'll always be each other's first loves, and I suspect we'll always find our way back into each other's lives, but friends? I doubt it. Maybe later in my life Shrimp will make a great second husband, after I've married for tempestuous pa.s.sion the first time around but then husband number one leaves me for the teenage baby-sitter when I become a super-successful restaurant mogul who thought she was doing a great job balancing career and family, and maybe she was but she just married a schmuck the first go-round. Shrimp will have gotten all that travel and wanderl.u.s.t out Why does it hurt more to lose someone you love than someone you despise? Shrimp and I both understand: I love you, you love me, but you're going your way and I'm going mine, and let's not fool ourselves into believing one of us will be waiting around for the other. We will never be that couple who lies and says, "We'll always be friends," because we won't. We'll always be each other's first loves, and I suspect we'll always find our way back into each other's lives, but friends? I doubt it. Maybe later in my life Shrimp will make a great second husband, after I've married for tempestuous pa.s.sion the first time around but then husband number one leaves me for the teenage baby-sitter when I become a super-successful restaurant mogul who thought she was doing a great job balancing career and family, and maybe she was but she just married a schmuck the first go-round. Shrimp will have gotten all that travel and wanderl.u.s.t out 271.

of his system, and I will be ready for some rest after the city that never sleeps, and we can move to Ocean Beach to raise my kids, with maybe some new ones thrown in if we're feeling very Nancy derivative, back in the place where it all started. I can cook and bake and he can do art and surf at Ocean Beach, and we will be settled and old.

Shrimp and I shared the long, deep Hollywood kiss at Ocean Beach, but we were so cold from the extreme chilly temp that our lips were almost blue and in danger of freezing onto each other's. Maybe the teeth-chattering, bone-shivering cold was a cosmic message from G.o.d or Buddha or Allah or whomever for Shrimp and me to let go already. After our Ocean Beach time, Shrimp had to leave right away for the airport for his trip to NZ. I elected not to go to the airport with him. I can't be that girl, crying and regretting and holding on till the very last second. I won't be that girl, because I want to be her. I want the tearful good-bye, the long, clinging kisses, the false promises and the running to the airline counter to buy a ticket to follow Shrimp to the end of the earth, if that's what it takes to be with him.

He'll always be in my heart, but I have taken measures to ensure Shrimp physically remains with me for a lifetime, no matter what part of the universe he's in. On the obscure nons.e.xy flab that hangs under my arm (placement choice out of respect for prospective future boyfriends), I have a new tattoo, my first, picturing a pink-veined piece of raw shrimp. He got a tattoo of a mini Nestle Crunch bar on the same spot on his arm.

Our final-scene movie kiss was broken by the barking of Aloha, the dog Iris and Billy left orphaned, except, of course, Wallace and Delia have kept Aloha; they wouldn't 271.

272.

let the dog be punished because of the grandparents-to-be's fickle ways. Even Aloha was too cold for this scene and wanted to go home. Shrimp's lips parted from mine, but I leaned into him for one more taste of his espresso-flavored mouth. My lips left his, touching his cheeks, his nose, his eyes, to freezer burn the feel of his cold face into my memory. "Burr-ito," Shrimp said.

Memory load complete, Shrimp took my hand as we walked toward Great Highway. I'm not worried. When we cross over the dunes at Great Highway and see Wallace and Delia's car waiting on the street to take Shrimp to the airport, I will let Shrimp's hand go. I will walk away and not be tempted to look back. I know that at the end of the road, there will always be a Shrimp.

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Shrimp. Part 15 summary

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