Baker Beach was what I had always thought San Francisco would look like – the stark and sudden loss of land into the swirling water, the cliffs so jagged and raw. We sat in silence, waiting for the sun to fall.

As the sky reddened and the fog started rolling in from the bay, I hugged my knees against the chill. I glanced over my shoulder at Paul, who seemed lost in his own thoughts.

Just before the last trace of sunlight faded, I abruptly whispered, "God, please take care of Mike." I didn't mean for Paul to hear me, but if he did, he pretended not to notice.

We basked in the stillness for a moment longer. Then we both stood up, brushed the sand off our backsides, and walked to the car. We had 14 hours to make our flight and 800 miles of desert ahead.

God, please take care of Mike.