I hadn’t been to Venice Beach in years.

July 14, 2013 at 12:24 am (Ruminations.)

I hadn’t been to Venice Beach in years. The city now was a far cry from the days of old, when we would spend every weekend on those grains of sand, losing ourselves in the drum circle, laying mostly naked on the sand, sneaking beers onto the beach, chilling, and loving life.

Somehow, we exited the freeway a little too early, knowing it would add a little adventure to our journey. As we drove, in my mind it felt like the lights were slowly being turned on, like a dark room with a dimmer switch slowly brightening the room. We exited Venice Blvd., and slowly the surroundings became more and more familiar, as we drove towards the beach, closer and closer to our old ‘hood. Memories trickling in, things I hadn’t thought of in years. By the time we reached Centinela, it was the most natural thing in the world to swing left and turn onto Pacific to stare out our old apartment building. Too many memories. Lots of them good. Some of them, not so good.

We made the block and then headed towards the water. Street names flooded back, and the trickle of memories turned into a stream. Sooo many memories at that beach. Too many to really want to recall. We naturally drove up and down the streets where we would always park, somehow found a spot, and started the short trek to the beach. All the while noting how the neighborhood had changed with new businesses, and marveling at those that were still around, the ones we used to frequent.

The sky was finally clear for the first time since Summer had arrived. It was our beach. The beach was the same as it had always been. Clear. Gorgeous. Mostly empty. I used to always say Venice Beach was the best beach in the area because nobody wants to go where the freaks are. There isn’t as much traffic on the beach itself. The boardwalk was always filthy, but the beach was clean. This was why we used to always end up there each week. That and the drum circle.

Laying on the beach, with the warm sun on my skin and the warm sand in between my fingers and toes, the memories were flooding through my veins. The throb of remembrance reminded me of the constant rhythm of the waves. Between us, there was chattering. Then there was silence. Within me, there was a reconnection with the soul of the person I used to be. I was sad. I felt like I was reconnecting with someone that was never fully allowed to live.

We had been two girls, barely out of college, who paths somehow crossed on this journey of life. And we were somehow clinging to each other as we each tried to get through each day, figuring out how to live, figuring out life. In the grand scheme of things, it was such a short time. A few short months together before we split to different parts of the world, never to return.

And today, here we are. Two girls, still young and clueless, confused, and just trying to get through life doing the least damage possible. But still clinging to each other thirteen years later, still trying to figure out how to live, still trying to figure out life. And – maybe – still not fully allowing ourselves to live.

Later that evening, sitting on the lawn of the Hollywood Burns compound, yoga mats laid out like towels on Venice Beach, we sussed out life a little bit more. The time was nearing when we would part ways again, splitting to different parts of the world, and – maybe – never to return. We were clinging to each other, and a heavy air hung around us. It was heavy like quilts draped from the trees, laden with the undeniable knowledge that we may be doing life together today, but – again – we won’t be tomorrow. Laden with the undeniable knowledge of the heaviness of life, and for me, the poignant reminder that life never is quite what they said it would be. And for many more tomorrows we will be apart, and the understanding that comes from walking through life with someone for years will again be just out of reach. Wearily, I could feel the sadness channeling through my body, pumping like blood between my hands and my heart, throbbing like the ocean pounding on the sand. Unapologetically, and without explanation.

I couldn’t help but weep for the sadness.

But what was I weeping for?

For days gone by that were simpler. Easier.

For the confused young girls we once were, making choices we never knew would be so painful.

For the passage of time that etched lines on our faces, that painted spots on our skin. Time that made our hands tired, our bodies worn and marked with the joys and the stresses of life.

The loss of lives, the loss of marriages, the loss of innocence and hopes and dreams.

The reality of the trauma and tragedies of life.

I cried for the pain that coursed through both of our veins, for the experiences that kept us both questioning, kept us both from forgiving ourselves.

I cried for lies, and tears and sorrow.

I cried as we breathed one breath, and then another, and then another.

In and out, like the rhythmic throbbing of the ocean of our youth… unapologetic, without explanation… ageless, powerful, and pure.

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