We lounged almost daily on Santa Monica Beach, preferably on the less touristy north end of the pier, and we more or less happily stayed on our small, lapis-blue viewing parcel in this big, enigmatic galaxy of a city. What I remember from that summer is that she would always fall asleep around 3, a little tipsy, gliding carelessly from an imagined world into the subconscious one with a paperback on her face in a dreamy malaise. I could be wrong, of course, because memory has a way of outstripping reality, but before me is a scene that is somewhat framed and ready to bring to light.
When I begin liking someone I suddenly become concerned and aware of the mushiness effects of my words, she said, and it’s bad luck to whisper that you’re happy. That club last night was too dark. I bet it was to hide the seediness and the shit on the floors, although I suppose it makes people look more attractive if you can barely see them.
It wasn’t out of the ordinary for her to slide into fragmented speeches without the slightest indication of topic change or beat of silence–it was as if she needed to blurt it out before it was forgotten forever. She was also very modern, which is to say a whip-smart, curious, and handsome bottle-blonde who embraced quasi-mysticism as a form of rebellion against technological overload and a generally uncaring world. Her psyche was thoroughly more contemporary than mine–awash in magical thinking and new-agey nonsense without a hint of cynicism, whereas mine was sober-minded and open to hard truths. The makings of an impractical, doomed relationship.
She was lying on her stomach and clinging to the revolving earth on the day I fell in love, assumably because she got the high score on the Mrs. PacMan machine tucked away in the very back of the costly Mexican restaurant (amongst ogling busboys who made off-color jokes about gueros.) at the very back end of the funky-smelling pier–even though I probably shouldn’t have given in so easily. She bought me a newspaper because I love the texture of the archaic things people derive pleasure from but never talk about. The newspaper told me that a baseball team had drafted Grant Green, passing up the modern-day Mickey Mantle whose name pays homage to an oily fish that grizzly bears love to bite the heads off of and is particularly tasty with garlic butter. It certainly didn’t seem odd at the time.