Fading Lights & Ferris Wheels

Santa Cruz

I am a very nostalgic person. All it takes is a song, a scent, a place, a photograph – and I am reliving a memory like a not so forgotten film roll. It splays across my eyes like sea foam lapping at the sand; a satiation that I can’t stop even if I wanted to.

It happens most in the summer. I couldn’t tell you why. Maybe memories cling to me like the heat clings to the August air. Like honeydew and watermelon porches. Sticky and bittersweet.

Like that old country song that spun around my heart, taking me back to when you used to pick me up from my parents’ house. 10 pm, “I’m outside.” It’s so late, and somehow we are driving down Highway 17, the headlights curving around the trees. I didn’t realize then how much those moments would stick with me. How we wandered the Santa Cruz boardwalk, admiring the fading lights and ferris wheel. How full my heart would feel. How freely I loved you as we fell asleep on a beach blanket next to that bonfire. How I thought our love would last like embers.

You tasted like beer every time you kissed me. The cheap kind, because that’s all we could afford. “I’m going to make you my wife one day.” It’s so easy to make promises of forever when you are so young. But I believed every word, listening to the waves crash in the darkness; a satiation I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to. You were terrible for me, but I recall you so beautifully. And for three minutes and 53 seconds, I am back on that beach. Reliving that summer, lost in time and space.

It’s funny how most times, the world feels so small. And others, like when a memory hits, like when a song crescendos, like when you only want to see on person the most, like when you recall the heat of the flames, the world can feel like an awfully big place.

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