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Two California women entered the Arizona bookstore to meet the stocky, mustachioed, metaphysical guru of meditational CDs. The elder of the three, his long-ago one-night stand, a self-proclaimed psychic with a boyfriend waiting for her return to California. The younger female, thirty-something with long blonde hair, intended to be the set-up friend, cautiously looking for romance.

            After polite introductions, the open sign turned to its off position as the trio left to explore the nearby desert. Perfume wafted from colorful Spring flowers in full bloom: white blossoms of giant saguaro cactus mixed with pale blue trumpets and hanging fruit of large ivory banana yuccas.

            The threesome rode together in the front cab of his rusted red truck, stopping frequently to explore the foliage. Conversation flowed. The youngest female sat in the middle as the local leader of the spiritual set drove on the dusty, unpaved roads. Shifting gears, his elbow touched her deliberately, sending sexual shock waves throughout her body.

            Intimacy had absented itself from her life for months, but the planned set-up did not occur. Instead, the past lovers dropped her off at the neon-signed hotel that smelled of dust and longing while their overnight adventure began without her.

            At daylight, the two women started their long drive home across state lines, the pee-pot in the back of the van and the gas tank close to empty. They spoke of him off-and-on, driving through the sparse landscape, discussing what had and had not happened the night before.

            After a respectable delay, he telephoned the one who searched for love. She flew to him for a weekend of mutual exploration and intimacy. After returning home, the duo sometimes spoke over long-distance lines. He promised to visit, but did not appear.

            Once, she heard him speak during a disturbing dream, calling to her through an ancient radio like the one she’d seen in an antique store on Telegraph Avenue. “I’m…not…happy,” he said in slow, slurred, distant speech. Coming to her through midnight frequencies, she listened in the dark, from underneath her blue flowered bed-sheets.

            At daybreak, she dialed her phone to check on him after her nighttime vision. “That’s interesting,” he said, and nothing more. She understood his silence as professing truth to her sleep’s proclamation. He neither confirmed, nor denied it.

            Instead of the promised California visit, he packed his bags and left the metaphysical world for a new skiing vocation in Colorado. The two stayed in touch, mailing postcards and letters, until time passed and their mutual interest waned.

            Every few years she picks up her old, faded photo album and notices his picture, or comes across the small book of self-published poems he autographed to her, “With Light and Love” written above his signature. Nothing else remains of her distant dreams.

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