Stonehenge / Pacifica
must have been a significant improvement in the human lot by the middle
of the 3rd millenium BC when, on current evidence, it appears that the
first of the stones arrived.
—Anthony Johnson, SOLVING
It was a dream I had, some restless night. One of those weeks
or months or years when we were worried about money.
But when were we ever not worried?
First there was the mortgage, and then the two.
And then your mother got sick, and your father died.
And my mother I think developed Alzheimer's, but we never
And then one night, after we'd fallen dead asleep, I
can’t recall whether from exhaustion or worry—you
were in the big bed but I was on the sofa, and the twins somewhere
else—I saw it.
We were together in a white car heading north. The
road may have been the Coast Highway. The ocean was to our
left, rocky cliffs to our right. It was a cold and windy day,
the car pulled slightly to the left with each turn, the sky was filled
Suddenly, you pointed at something on the water. I followed the line of
your pointing finger but saw nothing, only the foam of the waves as
they reached the rocks.
You shook your head, impatient. I knew this
gesture. I felt diminished. My eyes ached to see.
I rolled down my window and looked again.
Then, I saw it. Rising at the tip of your finger, as though
you had conjured it.
The whole rose slowly, majestically, from the waves. I had seen this
stone monument before, in a photograph in some book. Water
sluiced over the massive grey stones, which had a greenish tinge, as
though layered with many centuries of moss. The mighty
pillars were pitted with hollows. Creatures very old must
once have been cradled there. The water beneath was roiling
and dark. And now the sea opened up a channel, directly from
the monument to the shore.
My dream self looked and looked at this monument, shrouded in mist,
lashed by rain. How did you get here?
I whispered. I was amazed.
Dreams, I know, are Gordian knots.
The next day, my father unexpectedly invited us to lunch. We
decided to accept his invitation, though it meant much calling to find
a sitter available on such short notice.
We met my father at the Cliff House. He was with a beautiful
woman, much younger than my mother, with strawberry blonde hair and
striking blue eyes. It's no use pretending anymore,
my father said. I've lived a terrible lie for 10
years. The woman's name was Heidi. She
lived in Falls Church, Virginia. She had met my father at an
Heidi said she had a present for me. She reached into her
tote and pulled out a book. The title was: Solving Stonehenge.
"From both of us," my father said, a hint of pride
in his voice, patting Heidi's hand, his gnarled old one
covering hers like a claw.
So this was what happened next: my father was diagnosed with
prostate cancer. We didn't expect him to go as
quickly as he did. We saw Heidi at the funeral, but after
that, never again. I imagine she returned to
Virginia. Or maybe she moved to some much nicer place, like
My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Her
memory had begun
to unravel long, long before. It was good to
We remained together, you and I.
We decided to sell our house and move to a smaller city in central
California. The packing up of old things was hard.
Harder still was leaving the coast.
Every now and then, I drive. I look for water. I
look for magic.