I quickly glanced up at the clock. It was 9:11 on September 11. Guinevere had arrived with Virgo-like punctuality, right on her due date — a date that two birthdays later would take on global significance. A tsunami of emotion washed through me, a supercharged blend of awe, humility and love. I had never expected to be a father, never thought I wanted to be a father. And now... Now this tiny creature was my child. Forever.
“Forever” did not play out as expected, especially on Friday, December 10, 2004, when I headed out of Sedona one last time as a resident. I was on my way to Tucson, where a teleconference regular had offered to host me for a week of God Activations, writing workshops and private sessions. From there, I would continue to Southern California and, beyond that, to wherever the road would take me.
The car packed yet again with all my belongings, I drove west out of town, feeling nothing as I left Sedona and its red-rock formations behind. As Hawaii had done, Sedona had birthed some of my greatest joys and sorrows. My heart was too muddled to make sense of it all in that moment. Besides, I was focused on Murphy’s Restaurant in Cottonwood. There, Marcus, Aalia and Guinevere were breakfasting with friends. There, I would make my farewell to Guinevere.
It’s hard to know what five-year-old Guinevere felt or understood during the weeks leading up to that day. The night after Aalia broke the news to me about our marriage, we sat her down and tried to explain that the love Mommies and Daddies feel for each other is sometimes different than the forever-love they feel for their children. I added that even though we would no longer all be living together — I didn’t yet know that I would be leaving town — I still loved her as much as I always had, and that that would never change. In a private conversation with Guinevere a few days later, Aalia took full responsibility for the upheaval.
The next ten days were awkward and strained, as the three of us remained in the Zane Grey Circle house, still surrounded by unpacked moving boxes. Aalia had expected to move in with Marcus immediately, but Denise, Marcus’s ex-wife, had returned from Hawaii and was staying with him in their old house. Separated but not, Aalia and I slept at opposite ends of our king-size bed those first few nights. Then, uncomfortable with the arrangement, I moved into the guest room. A few nights later, wondering why I should be displaced, I insisted that Aalia and I switch places. Sleeping arrangements remained unchanged until Denise returned to the Big Island and Aalia moved with Guinevere to Marcus’s. We did our best to reassure Guinevere through it all. Still, it must have been confusing.
I parked in front of Murphy’s but couldn’t bring myself to go inside. Instead, I sat in the car for a few shaky minutes, unsure what to do, then called Aalia on my cell. She brought Guinevere out to the car and left us alone. I must have told my daughter that I loved her, that I would love her always and forever, wherever I was, and that I would see her soon. I must have reminded her that she could hear me on the CD I had recorded for her of all the bedtime songs I had sung to her nightly since she was born: “Puff, the Magic Dragon” and “Maui Loa”; “Bushel and a Peck” and “You Are My Sunshine” from my own childhood; and one I had written myself when she only weeks old: “Sleep, Little Guinevere.” I must have said all that, but I remember nothing. All I remember is watching my daughter walk back into the restaurant with her mother and driving away, sobbing.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish