Boxcar Blues – Honeymoon in Las Vegas


Mei Lia’s sister, Yu Le, paid for our honeymoon. We were going to Las Vegas! Las Vegas!

        Only it was the wrong Las Vegas. This Las Vegas was in New Mexico, just east of Albuquerque. I guess the attraction was it had a lake. I should have realized right away when the directions she gave us started with ‘head East’, we were going in the wrong direction. It was going to be a long drive. Mei Lia wanted to stop and stay at every hotel we passed, but I insisted we go the distance. The wind picked up. Dust was blowing wild by the time we were half-way there. It was a sandstorm. I drove on to the place I imagined in my lovely honeymoon fantasy. Five and a half hours later we arrived.

        Talk about disappointment. It was a cheap roadside motel. Whitewashed, trimmed with a pastel green that looked like it needed several new coats to bring it back to its color. The bathrooms were outdoors, marked MEN’S and LADY’S. I thought we’d checked into a Phillips 66 by mistake. I kept waiting for an attendant to knock on the room door and ask if we wanted a fill-up—or were we staying the night?

        Despite the digs, we managed to have a good time on Storrie Lake. Mei Lia enjoyed the sun, and we spent a lot of time on the water in a rented pontoon boat. Out in the middle of the lake, or on a secluded beach, we sunned and loved and swam in the crystal blue waters. I will never forget the delight watching her lithe body diving off the boat’s deck, sliding into the water without a sound. Like the women on the Chinese swimming team, effortless in their grace and simplicity of form, I mused.

        In our room, I’d watch her make tea. She prepared the brown clay teapot with matcha and roasted rice in a silent ritual. Careful to let the boiling water overflow, she immersed the pot as she filled it. Swirling the infusion, she set the vessel in the tray and patiently waited for it to steep. Intrigued, I noticed the quiet conscientiousness with which she made an effort not to disturb the spirit of the moment; refusing to drink from the bottom of the cup, as if the last drop was sacred. I finished the sesame cookie as I took my last sip and felt calm, revived.

 inal

the crooked picture
on the wall
never moves. . .
until a hand reaches
to touch it
(then it straightens
itself)

Oh, sorry—sometimes my thoughts get away from me.

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4 responses

  1. Man, I love these Boxcar Blues installments. You absolutely nailed the vibe of Las Vegas, NM. And even though these narratives don’t occur in the present, I can confirm that it hasn’t changed one bit. Just as barren and rundown as ever. Though I’ve never seen the lake.

    Liked by 1 person

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