That morning John said goodbye and headed home to take care of some business. He wanted to make reservations at his favorite place in Pismo Beach for my upcoming birthday, and said he had a few other things to attend to.
We were so happy.
The night before, John told me he loved me just seconds before drifting off to sleep. We didn’t speak of it the next morning, but there was joy surrounding us we could both feel.
And it felt good.
We had just spent the last five days together and didn’t want to leave each other, but both knew we’d be back together soon. We also knew it was good to take a break from the intensity of a new relationship and get grounded.
So we said goodbye and went our separate ways.
I headed to the East Bay to see my friend and, as women tend to do, told her all about the proclamation of love from John the night before. We went out for coffee and then shopping and lunch, and before I knew it the day was closing into evening and it was time for me to head home.
On my way home I got a message from John asking if he could come over. I was surprised because we usually take a few days off after an extended “date”, but when I returned his call he sounded so happy to hear my voice.
When I told him I wouldn’t be home until 8pm and he said, “Great, I’ll see you at 8:01.”
I raced home to change and freshen up and found some snacks and a bottle of wine to share once John arrived. And then waited.
At 8:10 I knew something was wrong. John was never late. Never. If he wasn’t going to arrive at the time he said, he would always stop to text me and tell me his new arrival time.
My heart started racing.
All of the old feelings of dread came crashing down on me. I knew that feeling too well. Something bad had happened.
Shaking, I called my girlfriend and told her he was late and I knew something was wrong. She assured me everything was fine and he just lost track of the time or was riding and couldn’t text.
I really wanted to believe her.
So I walked out onto the dark patio of my little home and stood there, listening. I was waiting for the sound of his motorcycle to come up the mile long driveway, but instead I heard a different sound.
I clutched my phone not wanting to make the next call and waited for my breathing to slow down. And then I went inside to look up the phone number that I knew I needed to call.
I dialed the number and when the person on the other line answered, “Napa Valley Hospital, how can I help you?” I asked if a motorcycle accident had been brought in. I was put on hold briefly and when she came back to the line asked me, “What is the name?”
“John Gavin”, I said, and was given an affirmative.