Dear Santa Monica,
I am here today to right a wrong…..to apologise.
This is my fourth time in Los Angeles in six years. Each visit, I have bypassed what is truly special to you, and to me. And for that, I am sorry.
I’ve been so focussed on Halloween parties, tourist attractions, burlesque bars, rock n roll reunions, thanksgiving turkeys, divey haunts, piers, basketball games, street art and a particular blonde.
I could keep going.
I skip down the L.A streets with my arms stretched out, in awe of every corner I turn and smitten with every conversation that comes my way. With so many wonderful distractions, I have failed to visit the one true thing that soothes the energetic fire ball within me…..The Ocean.
Today, that changed.
Driving down Ocean Avenue in your home town, I look to my right and wink at your peaceful statue that has the Pacific Ocean as its backdrop. The first car park I find is good enough as I pull up the park brake, grab my towel and head for the boardwalk.
Once there, I couldn’t take my shoes and socks off quick enough. I eagerly set up in front of life guard tower 28 and sit on my towel. The familiar feeling of sand beneath my feet and the smell of ocean air relax as usual. I stop and contemplate as to why I haven’t swam at this beach, in my future home town, when it’s a favourite pass time of mine wherever I go……No answer good enough comes to mind.
I take my t-shirt off and pull down my jeans. No swimmers, only undies. I don’t care.
With Venice to my left, Malibu to my right and Australia 15,000km straight ahead, I do a little stretch and take it all in. The soft November sun was smiling, the mild waves were inviting, but when the low flying fat seagull encouraged me with a trademark squawk… it was time.
So I started to run.
I ran with overdue excitement, like a little boy who couldn’t wait to make a big splash. The soft sand turned damp and solid as I got closer to my destination. The brisk water sprayed against my ankle, then drenched my knees before drowning my thighs. I continued against the force, unconcerned by the shrinkage about to occur, and when more birds flew above cheering me on I dived head first into nothing but cool silence.
The wait and the wonder washed off.
I’m here now.