My eyes filled with tears as I watched David describe on camera what he had included in the care package, which he had brought with him to the park. He held up each item as he explained its purpose: an aromatherapy kit, which included a scented candle; a lighter; an "Air of Calm" air spritzer; his cologne; protein bars in case I got hungry; a trashy tabloid magazine; fresh pillow cases and a soft, high-thread-count bedsheet. In case I wanted to take a bath but didn't find the tub up to my standard of cleanliness, a sponge and a baggy full of Comet had been provided, along with Algemarin bath foam from Germany. When he held up the dark chocolate, or "relaxation pills," he said, "For each piece you eat, you have to do this breathing exercise." He demonstrated the exercise, then held up another sign on which the word "BREATHE" appeared several times. Jerking it up and down, he said, "This is what your breathing is like now, and this," he held the sign steady, "is what your breathing should be like. Aaaahhh." He had also made signs to emphasize that he thought I was "Nice" and "Great." Another sign said, " Confianza, confianza ," a phrase our friends Rosa and Josue use when they want to say, "Chill out."
At one point David held up a giant picture of my eye, and said, "This is what your eyebrow used to look like. I like your eyebrows. Don't tweeze ." At the end of the video, he held up an image of a half-naked cowboy and said, "See this? Nuh uh," and with a red marker, drew a circle around the cowboy's head and torso and then a red slash through it. He placed the altered image by his head in the frame and said, "No. Avoid shirtless cowboys." He added an extra red X over the body for good measure. Finally, he said, "Just remember," and held up one last sign that echoed his spoken words, "I love you."
What he'd forgotten to include in the video were the four cards he had also left for me in the backpack, one for each night I was away, their sealed envelopes labeled with instructions as to which one was to be opened on which night. I wanted to pack up my things and drive back to San Diego, burst through our front door and capture David in a tight embrace, using every muscle in my body to convey how loved he made me feel. But, seeing how my room was prepaid, and how he'd gone through so much trouble to ensure my comfort in his absence, I lit a candle, dabbed some of David's cologne on my wrist, unwrapped a piece of chocolate, and stared in glorious anticipation at the envelope that read, "Open Wednesday Night."