Swiss-born architect Albert Frey leapt from bed one morning and shouted, “Ich habe einen traum. Ich möchte einen Yachthafen am Nordufer des Salton Meeres aufbauen.”
“Oh, good lord,” said Albert’s wife, Marion. “You’re not in Zurich anymore. We live in Palm Springs, U.S.A. Snap out of it. Speak English.”
“For your wise counsel I thank you, Liebling,” replied Albert, lovingly. For he and Marion always tried to see the best in each other.
Then, without so much as an auf Wiedersehen, Albert grabbed his blueprints and hitched a ride on Highway 111 through the Coachella Valley, the Orocopia and Chocolate Mountains, to the North Shore of the Salton Sea where he built a marina designed like a futuristic aluminum ship rising from the surf complete with catwalks, a flying bridge, masts, and a crow’s nest shaped like round porthole windows.
“Great balls of fire,” said Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra and the Marx Brothers, as they sped off in their speedboats in this Palm-Springs-by-the-Sea playground while Albert shouted, “If you will it, it is no dream,” and heard his joy echo back like laughter from Box Canyon to Mecca.
* The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off
While Marion continually tried to see the best in Albert, his escapades at the Marina made her mad as hell. Shopping with her mother along the Gardens on El Paseo, Marion muttered, “I think I’m at the end of my rope.”
“Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent,” replied Marion’s mother,
“when working to make a marriage work. Trust me. With this I have experience.”
“Yeah, well, persistence and determination aren’t doing squat,” Marion said.“My relationship with Albert no longer brings me happiness.”
“And where is your happy place?” her mother asked.
"Sitting in your kitchen, Mom, my face warmed as I lean over a steaming bowl of your matzoh ball soup.”
“In addition to wanting my matzah ball soup, do you have an urge to purge and get rid of stuff?” her mother asked.
“By stuff,” said Marian, “do you mean the Gucci bag I just bought or Albert?”
“Bingo,” said Marian’s mother. “Dump him. Be Happy. Go be the change you want to see in the world.”
After divorcing Albert, Marion spread her wings. She began an affair with her pool boy, Miguel, tall and lean and young and handsome, with eyes dangerous as black ice.
She joined a dig for pre-Columbian Aztec, Mayan and Inca artifacts and shared a tent with Sven, the brawny archeologist. “Bring me an ocarina,” Marion murmured in her sleep. “A magic flute I can blow on.” And Sven moved slightly on the cot and obliged.
Time passed. The days were good. The men, numerous. “What the world needs now is love, sweet love,” Marion sang, deciding that in romance, diversity is strength. The warmth of sunshine on her face, Marion kept passing the open windows of cantinas on the beach, finally lured inside after dark by the music, the aroma of fish on the grill, the smell of cigar smoke.
“What’s a girl like you doing in a place like this at this hour?” said the man behind the bar.
“I had an urge to eat cake by the ocean,” Marion said.
Then the man behind the bar carried Marion past the International Banana Museum
to the edge of the water and lay her down on the sand. The tide ran in, but it never ran out, and Marion understood that this was the liminal moment between her old life
and what was to come.
copyright Ozzie Nogg 2017