It was a 40 minute drive from Burbank to Santa Monica Beach and I enjoyed it. I got to the pier and was surrounded by sounds of happy screaming on rides, performers making music and creating laughter, conversations about everything and nothing and dreams and desires. I saw families and couples and babies. There were anglers catching mackerel and I saw what was too wriggly to be a mackerel with sharp teeth that was called a lizard fish by the cute blonde that released him back into the ocean.
I saw that friendly photographer again. It was the usual hug of a greeting and I left to look for the seal he said I wouldn't find. He was right. He suggested it's a seasonal thing and the seals are working on fattening up for the summer.
He took several pictures of me in front of the breathtaking sunset I enjoyed last night and then wanted to show me something. I walked with him to a quieter area of the pier where fishing isn't allowed and saw more breathtaking views. The ocean was so calm. He then lead me to another quiet area above Maria Sol where there was another couple walking through and I was able to get a more bird's eye view of the many people I normally weave through. At this point he took my hand in a firm grip, reminding me why I wear fewer rings on dates because, ouch, and wanted to show me the lit up ferris wheel. There were other people around, and that's where I made up a story about meeting a friend at the 3rd street Promenade. I had to rush. Sort of. He offered to take me to Marina del Rey to see the seals. I said, "Sure. Maybe," and headed off without giving another word. Really, I have a great car and Waze and I can get there myself.
I keep trying to think of how this should look differently than it does. It was really a kindness and a blessing on that first night when my mood was bottoming out to see him and have him offer a free picture that still sits on my fridge. It's his job to take pictures for a price. A freebie when I was seeking out the ocean to dwarf the drama in my life seemed like a gift I really needed. I thought I would return that kindness with kindness. He was always friendly and I assumed that was his character because often it is mine. I don't know how I feel about going back there anytime soon, or if I would want to go alone, because it was my alone happy place. I should tell him I'm not interested in seeing him anywhere but on the pier and I really don't want to hold his hand, but it would be easier to catch those sunsets from Will Rogers State Beach where it's less crowded and then head to a more crowded area where there's a strong police presence, because yes, I am a chicken that sometimes has a hard time rejecting people because I know how much it hurts to be rejected.
That may be why I will continue conversations I'm not really interested in. I hope they'll change my mind, but they rarely do. A date I had this week repeatedly brought up my ex. It's bad when you bring up your own ex, I know this and avoided it. He wanted to know how we met and when I knew he was the one and how he could recreate it. You can't recreate that. I wouldn't want to. We met at a pool hall. After weeks of flirting, I saw him sitting at the bar and told the bartender I was having a Coke, and he would pay for it. He told me it would cost my number and I scribbled it on a matchbook. A week later I was in the pool hall on a bad date and asked him why he never called. He did call. We had our first date, and I went home to my roommate and told him I would marry him. He went home to his mom and said the same thing. It was beautiful and amazing. He was my soul mate but I'm waiting for my life partner now. You can't recreate that magic because there's enough stardust left in me for something whole and new with the right man.
My plan was for a boiled crab dinner on the pier but I ended up at Hummus House on the Promenade where I sat alone and enjoyed my meal. Another man sat next to me, also alone at his table and he sipped wine with his meal as he enjoyed the basketball game on the big screen in front of us, and it was comfortable. I love comfortable and companionable but I enjoyed our silence. I walked alone and stopped to greet blue eyed babies and creep out their parents a bit. It was awesome. I drove home along Sunset Blvd. for the most part singing too loudly, and ignoring the flashing lights and sirens whipping through Beverly Hills in the opposite direction because I was content to sit in selfishness and not wonder about who's life was shifting into despair and chaos behind me.
At the end of the day, my day got better because cotton candy skies will do that. Although next time, I resolve to include cotton candy wisps that melt on sticky fingers in clouds of joy and diabetes.