Love Story


The parking lot had been surprisingly slow for the Friday of Labor Day weekend. My coworker left early, and I was handling the job alone.

In the middle of the afternoon, a pickup truck pulled in. I approached the driver, an older man with a short white beard and longish white hair. I asked him if he were there for the trail, and he said he was. I told him about the $5 parking fee. As he fumbled for his wallet, he began to speak. He was wearing a hat advertising his status as a veteran of the U.S. Army, so I thought he was going to ask for a discount. Instead, he said, My wife came up here with her sister. She wanted me to see the trees. She passed away in July…At that point he choked up, and tears sprung to my eyes too.

You don’t have to pay, I told him. There’s no parking fee.

He drove around the loop and parked near the front of the lot. I watched him out of the corner of my eye, but I didn’t know what to say to him. I didn’t want to be weird or intrude upon his grief.

The man had to be pushing 70, but he walked toward the trail briskly, with purpose.

When I saw him exit the trail, I decided to check in with him, find out how he was doing. I stood and approached him as he walked into the parking lot.

How was it? I asked.

He let out a joyful yell. Woo-wee! echoed through the trees.

I love that sound, he said and smiled at me. He said the walk through the trees had done him good.

Then he asked if I had change for a twenty, said he wanted to pay the parking fee, said he liked to contribute and support his country. As I gave him change, he said his wife had always wanted him to see the giant sequoias on the trail where I work. Then he was crying, and he said, I don’t know what I’m going to do without her.

I started crying too, and said, Sir, can I give you a hug?

I certainly don’t go around hugging strangers, especially strange men, especially while I’m at work, but I could tell this man was hurting, and I just wanted to offer him some human kindness. He turned to me, and we embraced as tourists passed us on their way to the trail. It wasn’t a long hug, but it was a good one, sustaining, and full of comfort and light. It wasn’t one bit weird, which may be surprising, but was wonderful.

After we hugged, he told me his love story.

His wife of twenty-five years had divorced him, and he was devastated. He didn’t know what to do. He started drawing and found himself drawing the same face over and over again. His mother saw him drawing the face and asked him who she was. He said he didn’t know. His mom said she knew someone he needed to meet. She introduced him to a woman she’d met at the grocery store and given a ride to in the back of her pickup truck. The woman’s name was Rose. Hers was the face he’d been drawing. He married her two months later. They were together for eighteen years.

It wasn’t easy at first, he told me. They had different ideas, differences of opinion, different ways of doing things. But we never fought, he told me, and we never went to bed mad. They always talked it out and worked it out.

We were almost always together, he said. They lived in a remote mountain area, and as a safety precaution, even when they worked on different projects, they tried to stay within each other’s sight, just in case something happened to one of them.

And now Rose was gone.

There is no doubt in my mind this man loved that woman intensely and completely, but in a way that was healthy and kind.

That’s the kind of love I hope to know before I leave this life.

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now I have a little travel trailer parked in a small RV park in a small desert town. I also have a minivan to travel in. When it gets too hot for me in my desert, I get in my minivan and move up in elevation to find cooler temperatures or I house sit in town in a place with air conditioning I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

5 Responses »

    • Thank you for the kinds words, Karen. I’m glad you are enjoying my posts. This is one of my favorites too. As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

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