Friday, March 24, 2017
Santa Monica Boulevard (Blogophilia 4.10)
Sweat beaded along the wrinkled brow as he hosed off the muck. The temperature gauge on the side of the building read 113."Lo, though I walk the valley of death, I shall fear no evil", wasn't it how it went? It had been so long since he'd with those hypocrites, he wasn't sure anymore. There was something about comfort, nourishment and guidance.
Nothing was comfortable. Dragging a damp cloth along his graying stubble, he thought of all the things he had been told wrong. Fornication was evil. Chloe showed him it was enlightening. Up really was down. It made him think God was Darth Vader altering the deal. Maybe he should pray it doesn't get altered further. He might get crushed in the aftermath.
She had left home the week after graduation. The note said she couldn't take the Trumpe L'oeil of the "marriage". Phoniness was the hallmark of those 20 years. The mask of civility on the outside, deceit and mutual loathing in. Yet, the girl had her own phoniness. Ex found a picture of her kissing a girl naked. He had known her orientation but kept the confidence. The girl's name was never spoken between them again. Homosexuality was an abomination to be shunned. The dish cut his face when he brought up her adultery.
The final drive was uneventful. Desert gave way to irrigated fields and golf courses, then to 80 miles of city leading to the beach. No freeway, though. There was nothing to learn from the concrete. Sure, it took longer. Time was all he had now. Redlands, Fontana and San Bernadino slipped silently into the rear view. It was hard to tell which was which. In Azusa, the rain stopped along with the traffic.
As he waited, he noticed the palm and eucalyptus trees placed tastefully outside each fast food joint, office and car lot. A scene so much different than the open scrub lands of the last thousand miles. All happening with the turn of natures kaleidoscope. Mid sized hills and mountains lined the valley creating a tunnel, no a funnel, to deliver him to the sea.
Was her hair still blonde and long? He wondered. The phone call had come a few days after the divorce became final. She was working at an upscale lingerie shop facing the beach and she wanted to see him. In his typical passive-aggressive way, he'd said sure, but never committed to any time line. The job disappeared the next week. The Universe had spoken.
The cars eventually cleared. Like a horse heading for the barn, the van plowed though the unfamiliar traffic like it had always lived there. Dodger Stadium came on the right and a game was just starting. Maybe he could stop. It had always been on his bucket list. The van kept going as if it knew there would be time enough to get that.
Stopping for gas at Santa Monica and Sunset, the thought of driving those fancy hills floated by. It only lasted a minute, though. He was ready to see his rocking little girl. The street wasn't flashy. One and two story strips nestled against the sidewalk. The standard mix of car washes and bars. Parking always in the back. He should have picked up some Buds to go with the song. Didn't matter though. It was all background noise, really to go with the endless run of buildings.
Hollywood morphed into Beverly Hills and the monotony continued. The cars cutting him off were nicer, but the middle fingers looked the same. A Chili Peppers song came on the radio, giving him a headache. Weren't they all in the end? He turned off the noise. Passing the 405 bridge, Route 66 ended. A mix of anticipation and dread rose out of the tar pit of his mind. He turned right at the light.
Ocean Avenue looked like all the tourist streets. The stucco exteriors were mostly off white, with an occasional pale pink or orange. Boutiques for the rich alternated with tacky t-shirt pavilions. A few high rise apartment buildings here and there. Beach bums of varying sobriety sunned openly on the sidewalks. Shapely girls jogging in fluorescent spandex, busts flying and pony tails constricted by ball caps. It could have been a T.V. show.
Beyond the street and down the cliff was the beach itself, surprisingly not crowded given the weather. The place he was looking for was just past Arizona. Pulling into a gated lot in the next block, he took the ticket and locked up. The lay low on the southwest horizon. The sky had just the slightest hint of pink. A slight breeze came off the water, cooling the parking lot and drying the sweat from his face. Had she eaten?
The mannequin at the door was dressed like Betty Page. The set was made of leather, rather than lace. In the hand was a riding crop. Was that really what she was into? The door jammed a little as he opened it, announcing his entry with a loud rattle. His daughter suppressed a scream when she saw him. The one other customer, a tiny black woman with a tiger patterned scarf weaved through her dreadlocks, paid for her undies and left.
The changes were amazing. The head was shaved bald, with a small tattoo of a spider at the crown. A rhinestone horseshoe twinkled on her upper lip, with several other piercings scattered along the face. Faded roses lined the left arm, while a lightning bolt peeked from the right. Her personal map of experience for everyone to see. Being in view made it more honest than his. She would always have that advantage.
The hug went on forever. Touching replaced all the years they had missed.
But she was still his little girl. And this girl rocked his world like no other.
Topic Kim Herndon
Pic guesses: Let’s dance, Boogie, Get down, Have some fun, Break dancing, HipHop, World dance, Rainbows.