Destiny In The Desert

"Holding on to each other as we gently floated in the saltwater under the moonlit sky ... "

Everyone says you only fall in love once but that's not true, every time I hear your voice I fall in love all over again.

~Author Unknown

"We never do anything fun together anymore," I bellyached to my devoted and doting husband Ilan. So Ilan started bombarding me with e-mails and flyers offering "weekend getaways" and other exotic and not-so-exotic "events" all over the country and abroad. "Romantic log cabin with Jacuzzi," screamed one flyer. "Visit Costa Rica," enticed another. But when I noticed a small advertisement for a "midnight walk in the desert," not far from the Dead Sea, I knew I had stumbled on just the right activity which would combine Ilan's affinity for the rugged outdoors with my romantic nature. We bought the tickets online and marked the date in our calendars.

We live in Israel, about 150 miles from the Dead Sea. Because of the narrow, winding, poorly-lit roads as you move farther away from the center of the country, this adds up to a three-hour car ride. Each way. With three young daughters at home, taking a "midnight walk" in the desert required much more logistical planning than a simple stroll in the park.

After dropping our daughters off at the homes of various friends and relatives for the night, we headed south for our rendezvous. We briefly considered detouring into Tel Aviv for a romantic candlelight dinner (which Ilan assured me would be cheaper than paying for the gas we were about to burn), but since we had already purchased our "midnight walk" tickets, we felt that our destiny was sealed in the desert.

We spent the drive listening to music, catching up on the week and enjoying the fact that there was no bickering coming from the backseat to distract us. When we finally arrived at the winding snake path that was meant to guide us to our midnight walk's starting point, we hit a traffic jam resembling that of rush hour in the city. We managed to piece together from other drivers that a semi-trailer had jackknifed somewhere down the road and was blocking the path. I wondered to myself if the semi-trailer driver's wife had also complained that they never did anything fun together anymore and if this was her just reward.

Ilan, who never leaves home without his "coffee kit" (essentially a tool box filled with a small gas burner, six glasses, coffee, tea, sugar and non-perishable milk) decided to make us hot drinks -- in the car -- while we were waiting. Spicy cinnamon tea never tasted so good. Still, we grew impatient after sitting in the exact same spot for forty-five minutes along with groups of other would-be midnight walkers who were congregating near their cars. So we decided to change the course of our destiny. Ilan knew of a lovely public beach (called, incidentally, Public Beach) where, because we had the forethought to throw our bathing suits in the car "just in case," we could take a swim. The changing rooms were locked so we boldly swapped our hiking clothes for bathing suits right there on the beach! With the moonlight as our guide, we stepped into a warm, comforting, Dead Sea bath. Our midnight walk had turned into a midnight swim.

Holding on to each other as we gently floated in the saltwater under the moonlit sky, we talked about philosophy, astronomy, history, the secrets of a good marriage and changing destinies. We talked about how to get our money back for those unused tickets for a midnight walk in the desert.

And then, at just about midnight, we reluctantly got out of the water, showered ourselves off on the beach, changed clothes, and started the long drive back to the city. Without any effort or preparation, we had spent one of the most pleasant evenings we'd had in a long time. And I realized that my destiny wasn't waiting for me in the desert after all; he's been right beside me for the past twenty years.

Cover image via Mike Ver Sprill I Shutterstock

This story is from Chicken Soup for the Soul: True Love: 101 Heartwarming and Humorous Stories about Dating, Romance, Love, and Marriage © 2011 Chicken Soup for the Soul, LLC. All rights reserved.



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