Ticket To Ride, Book 2, Chapter 26: Let’s get out of here and get some waves…

Alsea by Brad Quist, www.quistartstudio.com
Alsea by Brad Quist, http://www.quistartstudio.com

They’d fallen asleep and the sun was going down behind the mountains. Still lying on the blanket that had served as a makeshift bed, they both turned to one another at the same moment and smiled.

“Plane doesn’t leave until 11, what should we do now?” asked Livy, getting up on one elbow.

Morgan reached to her and pulled her back down and kissed her.

“You’re the most beautiful woman in the world.”


“This is a beautiful place and we should never forget it.” Morgan said.

“It is getting a bit cold.”

Morgan held her closer.

“It’s always colder in the mountains,” he said.

“I love the mountains.”

“I know and I love them because you do.”

“Why don’t we head toward the beach?”

“It won’t be dark for a while and I’d like to try and surf Rincon before we leave California.”

“Let’s do it.”

“You are the most beautiful woman in the world, you know that don’t you?”

“You’re so sweet. I hoped, but I never knew there could be a man like you. I love that song you wrote. Maybe someone’ll record it sometime. Maybe you could.”

“I’ll never learn to play the guitar and I don’t know anyone who’s willing to work on it.”

“It’s a shame with all you’ve written that it’s not seen more interest.”

“It’s not that I haven’t tried.”

“I know.”

“I’m just glad I have you. Let’s get out of here and get some waves.”

“A sus ordeñes señor,” Livy said smiling, “Sweetie? Good news…  I think I’m pregnant.”

Morgan held her again, even more tightly.


Ticket To Ride, Book 2, Chapter 22 (Livy’s Perspective): A friend of mine told me it takes a leap of faith…


Office in the sky. Too early for lunch, she thought, but it’s time somehow. Not entirely hungry, but it’s time. Business, busy-ness, the details. Livy got up from her desk, closed the drawers and turned to leave.

“Where you going Liv,” asked Ramie.

“Out, lunch I think.”

“You think?”

“Just out I guess. Maybe lunch.”

“You want company?”

“Thanks Rame, I’m going alone.”

At the elevator Livy felt it again but this time with the sense of something pulling and something impending at the same time. Impending like an audition, like it was time for the show. Inside the elevator she pushed the button for the ground floor. No one was in the elevator with her but she could smell oranges, ripe. Oranges in the dead of winter she thought. Where had she smelled them like this before?

At ground level the lobby was full of others scrambling for the elevators and the doors. The light from the glass doors at the front reflected off the floor and into her face. She looked up and beyond the doors and caught a glimpse of a sun-kissed head of hair close to the street. She smelled oranges again. Portugal, she thought, then no, it couldn’t be. The Continental for pastrami she thought now, I’m a little light-headed, need to eat.

She walked through the revolving door in the crush of others. She broke free a few feet from the sidewalk, moving slowly. She walked past him and toward the light of the sidewalk. She hadn’t seen him.

“Excuse me!” he said.

“It’s you,” she said, “it’s really you.” She smelled oranges again and saw Portugal in her mind. He’s grown up, she thought, looks almost knightly.

It became just the two of them, all else disappeared. It was a deep breath taken in as far as it could go, then the exhale and the tingling and the clarity and levity, the knowing and a fusion.

“I’ve been dreaming of this,” she whispered.

“Me too.”

Morgan stepped about five feet away, and before Livy could ask, he jumped toward her.

“What’re you doing?” she said.

“A friend of mine told me it takes a leap of faith.”

She looked at him and smiled.

“Let’s go somewhere,” he said, “anywhere.”

“Yeah,” she said, not knowing the sweetness of her own voice but feeling it all over.

Ticket To Ride, Book 2, Chapter 22: I’ve been dreaming of this…

28Twenty Two


At 4 Times Square, “The New Yorker,” he stopped and looked up. Like a fucking monster he thought. There was a revolving door in the throat of this dragon where people spun in and spun out. He knew he had to go there, turn with it. He breathed deeply through his nose, pushed his hair back and started walking slowly as if into battle. The revolving door was spinning faster now and it seemed he might have to dive. Within a few feet, in the blur of suits and dresses spinning in and out, a slow moving creature stepped casually out of the twister, high-heeled, black-skirted and business sexy, it was her. She walked past him and toward the light of the sidewalk. He couldn’t move but a shout rose up through him from all over his body.

“Excuse me!” he yelled.

She stopped then turned slowly, her auburn hair shifting from her back and flipping over her shoulder and coming to rest on her silk blouse and covering her right breast.

Their eyes created a tunnel between them that rotated slowly as each read the other’s face, he reading a sonnet, and she studying the strong contours of his face.

“It’s you,” she said, “it’s really you.”

They moved toward one another and all the space between them was vacuumed away.

The multitudes on the sidewalk disappeared. The millions of people with their designer clothes and stress and needing to get there and keeping time with the march.

They held each other and she whispered, “I’ve been dreaming of this.”

“Me too.”

They knew each other, had known each other, would know.

Morgan stepped about five feet away, and before Olivia could ask, he jumped toward her.

“What’re you doing?” she said.

“A friend of mine told me it takes a leap of faith.”

She looked at him and smiled.

“Let’s go somewhere,” he said, “anywhere.”

Ticket To Ride, Book2, Chapter 21: I suppose it’s easy to get stuck that way…

Hands of time1Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?

– The Beatles


Journal entry

Trudy I’ve gone to my mum and she’s, well, she’s going to be all right. All right I suppose and getting back on with things. She somehow got stuck with this idea that her life was so much better with dad. I suppose it’s easy to get stuck that way. Mum’s past forty now and looks close to sixty. Life’s taken it’s toll on her. Dad put some away for her and she’s helping out in a dress shop in the main square. Funny, sometimes I think it’s funny that I write these things to you. If there is a heaven and you’re up there, and somehow I know you are, then it’s silly of me to tell of these things. You know don’t you? I suppose it’s my way of talking to you, always has been. Oh Blackfriar’s Bridge Trudy. It’s come to pass in many ways, the things I thought back then. Somehow there’s still a bit of something missing. I’ve seen a lot, done a lot. Bloody hell, I’m published in the New Yorker. What else could I want? At any rate love, I miss you dearly and please keep a special eye on mum. What’s it like in heaven love? I know that’s where you are. All sun, and treacle, and Shepherd’s Pie for you, you rolly little thing. I’m sorry love, you never were quite fat were you, it’s just fun to think of you glowing and smiling and chubby from too much treacle. Sweets for my sweety.

Ticket To Ride, Book 2, Chapter 20: Hold the best of him and don’t be false…

East Finchley SignTwenty

Livy’s mind slipped back to that December day in 1967. She and Trudy were back from Blackfriar’s Bridge and her mother had put together a small surprise party for her birthday.

“Happy Birthday love,” she says.

“Oh thank you so much mum, Livy replies, “is this all for me?”

There’s a birthday cake with waxy numbers in the shape of 10. Beside it is a box the size of a typewriter and a smaller box the size of a pencil  or pen holder.

“I can guess what those are, “ says Livy as her father walks into the room noticeably drunk.

“A fools paradise is all that bloody is. You’re just a stupid little girl.”

Livy looks to her mother for redemption or at least a kind word in her defense. Say something mum, she thinks.

“And you the bloody blind leading the blind, you daft cow.”

Her mother says nothing. Can’t say anything. The repercussions would be more than she could bear. She’s broken, and can’t be mended.

Oh mum, Livy thinks, if only he weren’t here, how wonderful it could have been.

“What about Trudy?”

“Forget it Livy,” her father says and takes the typewriter to the rubbish bin.


10218780_1Present Day (1979)

East Finchley, council flat, mum. Brick, grey skies, orange flowered, threadbare couch and that God awful painting of the toreador. Three years and I’m back.

“Livy I miss your father,” said Livy’s mother.

“He was a bastard  mum.”

“Please don’t say that Liv.”

“He was.”

“Drop your sulky teenage attitude for a minute.”

“There you go mum, let me have it.”


You’re sticking up for yourself.”

“Oh, I guess I am.”

“I’m so much more grown up when I’m not here.”

“Try to be that for me now.”

“I’m sorry mum, it’s just that I don’t have much good that I remember. He was a drunk and so damn angry all the time.”

“I wish you knew how wonderful he could be. It’s just that he got old too young. And well, when you came, he didn’t know how to be a father and felt inept. He wasn’t good at little girls.”

“Are you saying if I was a boy…”

“I’m not saying anything of the sort. It’s just that he’d closed himself off to me and you represented a challenge he couldn’t face. Your grown now and I want you to know that neither of us would have had you any other way, but he was closed. He tried but he was closed.”

“But you went away with him.”

“Livy I…”

“Let me speak this time mum. The valium, the naps, the wine, you let him take you with him and I was alone most of the time.”

“I remember you loved books.”

“Books were all I had, and Trudy.”

“But whether you remember or not, your father spent a lot of time reading to you when you were a child. He gave you that love.”

“I wanted love not books.”

“Don’t be disrespectful.”

“Children want love mum. Little girls want to love their daddies as much as their mommies. I’ve stayed away from men because he was what I thought they were.”

Livy’s mother began to cry.

“I’m sorry love,” she said to Livy.

“It’s ok mum. I’m ok. I just don’t want you to slip into some phony soft reverie of him. He hit you mum.”

“That’s enough now Livy.”

She began to cry harder and moved toward Livy and they hugged. Livy became the mother.

“I love you mum and I don’t want you to cry,” Livy said.

“So stop now lovey.”

“Just be ok without him mum. Hold the best of him and don’t be false.”

Livy reached into her pocket and pulled out a poem.

“Here mum. I just wrote this. It’s nothing, but maybe something.”



when I’m 80

I may,

God willing,


all the ages I’ve been and all the things I’ve done

and be spared the pain of

wishing to return to places I can’t go back to

and being with people who are not who they once were or,

are dead.

when I’m 80

I will,

God willing,


all the ages I’ve been and all the things I’ve done

and feel the joy of a life lived.

Ticket To Ride, Book 2, Chapter 16: I am possessed by a primal energy…

SurfersGuidetoBajaDay 1

After a long overnight drive to a small Ejido south of Ensenada there was a day of rest. Trent and Jay struck up a game of football (soccer) with some of the local kids. The villagers went mad for ‘em. Loved the gringos and laughed at their awkwardness on the field. A couple of the kids showed up later and we traded them T-shirts for fish and in the morning we headed south for a place we’re calling Rattlesnake Gorge. Trent got out for a piss and just about gave a snake a bath, hence the name. It’s a beautiful setup with cliffs to either side and a sandy spot in the middle of a fifteen-year flood plain. The occasional rain has created a triple reef/sandbar break and the guys went nuts for it, and having discovered a cheap outlet for Corona, we all celebrated our good fortune of surf (I surfed for the first time today) with a middle-of-nowhere no one-to-worry-about party in the wilderness. They’ve shown themselves to be gentleman and I’ve told’em about the guy in Europe. Good lads, a respectable, earthy sort. Live by a code of chivalry and sharing.

Between 100 and 150 miles south of where we were yesterday. Guys’re gonna surf as soon as we eat some breakfast, beans and tortillas, same coming out as going in. A couple of surfers from Long Beach camped next to us last night. We had  a fire and talked about whatever. We’re settling in. It’s fun to try and communicate with the locals and shopping and the whole bartering thing is pretty cool. Swell’s picking up.

Surf’s dropped again from this morning but they say the swell is definitely “showing.” It’s just that this spot is a sort of “mysto” spot where the swell seems to come and go with the tide.

Later: Had dinner in El Rosario, “bistec ranchero,” in a hot adobe with thick walls painted aqua. With the sun on our faces, the table seemed surrounded by sunburnt jesters or some sort of royalty. Our hostess, an ancient “indio” woman tried her best to give us a brief history of her life in broken English. The girl cook didn’t seem to like us.

Punta Baja turned out to be a bit desolate. Windy and cold like winter in Torquay so we came back to Rattlesnake. Sun’s setting now and, framed by the cliffs of the gorge, it feels something like primeval; as if we’re here very alone and in the long ago past. Thinking of the guy in Portugal: Lit me up somehow. Lit me up like I haven’t ever been lit. Might love him but it’s such a big word, huge. Trent’s turned on the AM radio, The Zombies are singing “What’s your name, who’s your daddy… It’s the time of the season for…”

A pelican just walked up to us in the dark. It seems he wants to hang by the fire with us. There’s a knowing in him that knows he’s safe here. God is in him.

Best waves of the trip this afternoon, Trent took me out with him. Surfed, or better, splashed around for the better part of two hours. Rob said some Japanese folks and a husband and wife came by then split, came during a lull in the surf and didn’t have the patience to see the sets. Fine for us. Went into San Quintin for supplies then cooked up the fried potato, chorizo and egg staple. Fresh tortillas are a meal in themselves. Come from the loving hands of “indio” women and hot stoves. My hair’s getting lighter with the sun; “bushy, bushy, blonde hairdo” and tan, feeling healthy. Beautiful sunset tonight, framed by the gorge as we came in from the main road. Strong promise of surf for tomorrow. Time for a golden, sweet, and cheap Corona, then sleep.

Just beyond Rattlesnake Gorge we found a rusted old school bus sinking in the sand. The wheels are gone and we’re all guessing maybe some hippies got lost on the way to Woodstock. “Summer of Love” run out of gas. Inside I nearly stepped on a rattlesnake. Remnants of parties all over; a bong inscribed with “FURTHUR” after Kesey and the gang. Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test bubbled over, dessicated in the sun. We’ve dubbed it the “Magic Bus” after the Who song.

Third day was an all-out bee-line through the desert with burritos for breakfast in El Rosario. The trip seemed to start then. Remote, gone, last outpost on the Pacific behind us and nothing but pot-holed road ahead. Huge cactus and white stones everywhere, drinking. We stopped a lot in the desert to wee in the brush. Had a margarita somewhere near Guerrero Negro and a guy gave us a tip on some camping on the Gulf side. Long road off the highway, dirt, like washboard, shook the bloody hell out of the bus, but with a beautiful sunset going on around a triple-peeked set of hills we came over a rise in the road and Tristan began to wail. In front of us, a mile or so off, was a spit of land with large swells rolling like caterpillars. I got “stoked” with all of ‘em and am feeling like I’m getting a peek at the draw of the sea. Then we got stuck in the sand. Slowed down to get a better look at the surf and sunk.

This morning we’re situated just below a sort of airfield and adjacent to a rudimentary lighthouse. The Aussies next to us were calling it 10-15 feet and said the place “wasn’t holding the swell” the day before. Today it’s “dropped off” a bit and the guys are calling it clean, better with the tide, and the word is the wind turns offshore in the afternoon and adds a crispness to the surf. This spot’s too dangerous for beginners but there are lots of beautiful shells on the beach. Tristan, Trent, and Jay came in saying the rock reef shelf is like a racetrack and “gnarly.” I saw them all get tuberides and wonder what that must be like.

A man who calls himself Ismael came by this morning to check on all of the campers. Nice sort, salt of the earth, or the sea in this case. Says he’ll have lobster later, a dozen for $10.00. There’s a “mellow” break further up to the point and Jay took me up there for a surf. I stood up on nearly every wave and Jay was hooting. Feel like I’m a natural to this.

I am possessed by a primal energy,

a tribal tension,

the residue of millennia





elemental simplicity fueled by

an adrenal stream and

pumped by an infant heart

Ticket To Ride, Book 2, Chapter 14: What’s the angle?



“Rame it’s Livy, I got your message. Summer’s nice in Ireland.”

“New assignment Liv.”

“New, new, new. Yes luv.”



“Baja California.”

“It’s nothing but a wasteland, bloody desert.”

“Surfers like it.”


“Yeah, surfers Liv. Editor’s on some kind of trip about surfers. Just got back from Waikiki.”

“What’s the angle?”

“He’s giving you carte blanche sweety. He trusts you.”


“Yeah, they’ll be a Volkswagen bus waiting for you at the San Diego airport. Four guys.”

“Do I get a gun?”

“It’s safe enough. They’ve all been. You leave Dublin in three days.”

“Right then.”

Ticket To Ride, Book 2, Chapter 13: A declaration might be made…

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 9.19.42 AMThirteen

Journal entry:

I get to thinking of that guy on the train and I can’t sleep. He makes me warm and alive, especially in certain places. But the eternal “but” that surfaces time and again but I don’t know this game but am playing it by thinking of him. Don’t know if I could ever make it work or might by translating the usual day, extrapolating that into a day with him. How it might add to a day. How he might be if I could know how to be beside him day to day; the desire, the knowing but also the pauses and feeling like I need to fill them in, sometimes. Feeling like I need to fill them in and sometimes feeling like filling it in. The answer to my own question lies in me and my trust of the me that knows to trust the knowing and perhaps the restless me can be sated with the pen and the doing of the things that the pen does, and the pages read and the paths they take would be the balm that soothes the burn, if there is to be one. Sometimes I’ve no doubt and others, like children running and sometimes screaming, and where the separation of powers in this begin and end, when perhaps the two become more and we, being busy, divide our days. Do we divide these days less thinly than before, or finer, or thicker. And if finer being the prospect do we decide, and on what basis, about the when’s and the who’s and the hows and the thems. The thems will always be, family, and trying, and sometimes tearing at the prospect of the finer. Who is his them, and what is mine, Mum. Calm and grace when it comes can soothe any of the us and the thems and the hows and the whys. A declaration might be made and rolled like a scroll, a pact so as not to stray, chain, or run aground.

Ticket To Ride, Book 2, Chapter 6: White Cliffs of Dover…

White Cliffs of Dover by Rich Fotia.
White Cliffs of Dover by Rich Fotia.

Journal Entry

Talked with Ramie. It’s all set. Europe. It’s all set. God, I’m bloody tired and excited. Spain, France, Amsterdam, maybe even Morocco. They said all they need is 2,000 words a week. Can do that standing on my head. But what if I can’t. Shit Livy just go. I’m looking at the ticket on the chair. Heathrow, then Dover and the crossing to Calais, Paris. I won’t go into London, I’ll just bypass it and head for the cliffs, White Cliffs of Dover. Sounds more romantic from here than it ever did when I was in England. I’m becoming like an American anglophile, in love with the romance of it as if I’m not a part of it, like the distance makes it somehow more attractive. Oh the White Cliffs of Dover and the Channel. Clean slates right Trudy. New stuff. Trudy how long’s it been now, a year and a half? I’ll do it for the both of us cuz I know it’s something you would’ve wanted too. And maybe someday Ceylon or Sri Lanka. World’s changed a bit Trudy. At least it’s changed in what I know of it. Ceylon, Sri Lanka used to seem like a place covered with nothing but sweet tea and people in cozy shackish homes who loved what they did and loved their families and loved the work they did. You know how we used to go on. It’s nicer to think of them that way even if our own country and the way things are has screwed up their lives. I’d like to think that those people are ok with what they have. Politics and all you know. But Spain, France and maybe Morocco, clean slates.

I’ve got to be the luckiest girl in the world, she thought.

Ticket To Ride, Book 2, Chapter 3: The lunatic is in the hall…

keepThe lunatic is in the hall. The paper holds the folded faces to the floor… but everyday the paper boy brings more…

– from Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd


Elysian fields, night. Quiet for writing. Trudy’s here in the night. Trudy’ll always be here in the night. They all move about in the dark. Come home for a visit. Haunt if they’ve gone too soon. But Trudy’ll just be here like she was. Hello Trudy. Hi pet. What should I write about tonight love? What’s on your mind love?

Livy breathed deeply and put the eraser end of the pencil to her lips.

I’ve got to go love… like you said. Remember? Remember Blackfriar’s Bridge lovey? Weren’t we just girls then? Just girls. Ten, all of ten, now it’s been ten days since you went away. Miss you. I’ve decided to take the scholarship and go to Oxford. Miss Brompton arranged it. Like a mum to me. More than my mum is anyway. Yes it’s all sorted lovey. This fall. Me. There. Wish you were going with me. Wish me luck Trudy…

“Livy, you ought to be going to sleep now love.”

“Please close the door mum.”

“But Livy you’ll ruin your eyes writing in a dim…”

“Close the door and go away mum, please.”

“Excuse me but I am your mother and…”

“I’m going to Oxford mum,” Livy said feeling it rise, “I’ve been offered a scholarship and I’m going to bloody Oxford. Away from here. Away from you and your valium… and your paralysis,” Livy was speaking loudly now and her father came down the hall to Livy’s room to see what was the matter.

“What’s the ruckus girls?”

“She’s going away Herbie.”


“Yes Herbie, away!” Livy added, “away from mother delirious and daddy the drunkard… away from this numbness. You tried to take it but I kept something for myself… I’ll be gone in the morning… Miss Brompton’s arranged it.”

They walked out sullenly, Livy thought, “Thank you oh so very much Miss Brompton, you’re my savior.”