I will remember the Cape in color.
Blue suitcase, the zipper busted and Samsonite label ripped off by some baggage claim tragedy. Orange Line to Midway. Blush-colored scarf, neon-striped tank, blue jeans and my best silver travel shoes.
Blue skies and a twilight rainbow as we set off eastward. A pitch-dark arrival in Providence.
The pastel cornflower blue Crown Vic we rented the next morning, with Illinois plates and an outdated Chicago city sticker. The trunk barely closed with two sets of golf clubs inside.
Green, green hills everywhere on the course, nestled back in the woods. We left the men behind and spent the afternoon at a beachfront bar with strawberry mojitos and stolen bites of Greek salad.
Matt and Jaime's brand-new black kitten, along for the ride. Swoon.
Mark's and my room's two double beds, covered with mustard, teal and forest-green bedspreads that we stripped immediately and left in the corner for all three nights we slept there. The air conditioning groaned and strained against the persistent heat and humidity.
A damp bathroom the color of old silk roses. Our towels and swimsuits never quite dried in there, and a tiny black plaque nailed to the hollow door begged us to please place the curtain inside the shower, like that could contain the moisture somehow.
Beyond the hellhole motel: exactly as expected, though I didn't have a clue what to expect.
The wild raspberries and canaries of the buildings in Provincetown, a cross between a Caribbean island and a quaint European town at the very tip of the Cape. We drank local beer at the Squealing Pig and watched a barback shuck oysters in giant black rubber gloves.
Peeling red nail polish on my toes, my heels perched on the passenger-side mirror out the open windows as we sailed down Highway 6, searching for songs on the radio we could sing at the tops of our lungs.
Hey, I just met you. And this is crazy…
Pink and blue explosions, hydrangeas in full bloom along the bustling back veranda of the Chatham Bars Inn, where Mark and I sat with fifteen-dollar cocktails and basked in looking the tony part but knowing — and loving — how fleeting that moment was.
Clear, perfect turquoise filling the pool of the Platinum Pebble Inn, where Mark, his parents, brother, sister-in-law, cousin and I sat each night for cocktail hour.
Dim, flickering orange candlelight in a different restaurant each night, where we opened bottle after bottle of wine. The faces of my new second family blurred in my half-drunken state but became more familiar by the second.
The Creamsicle cantaloupe polo Mark wore on the miniature golf course this morning, our final stop before making our way back to the mainland. His neon-yellow ball, the only color he can discern through his color blindness.
Whitewashed clapboard. Wooden shingles aged by the sea air. Sand chased by the tides, darker and rippled near the water, studded with broken seashells and dotted with people in bright swimsuits.
I took pictures, at least a hundred, but they won't mean much to anyone else. A camera can't capture skipped heartbeats; a memory card captures images, not actual memories. My photos will serve only to remind me that yes, it actually is possible to be this happy. Writing this will be my reminder that no, I am not always so utterly dumbstruck by the fullness of my heart.
There are words.
There will be more chowder, more bisque, more fried clams. There will be more oysters on the half shell, maybe even on the same Wellfleet rooftop playing sleepy reggae from tinny outdoor speakers. There will be more lobster and more bottles of wine in years to come, more moments that catch my breath and aching happiness.
All the colors in my head swirl bright to form a brilliant white. I see white, all white — too soon, but not — and there's music in my ears, as my flight bumps and roars westward, toward home — back to real life and the next adventure.