Yesterday I worked at Mills and got my words done quickly, and instead of doing something more productive, I drove to the coast. I felt the need.
I loaded up my phone with writing podcasts and headed for Pescadero via Half–Moon Bay. I found myself at the yarn store, where I bought more Noro for my blanket and some sock yarn. A girl can never have too much sock yarn, ever.
After the yarn, I went to the lighthouse to see about renting out a full building for a retreat next fall, but there was no one around, so I just wandered the property a little bit. I searched for whales but was happy with pelicans.
Then went to Duarte’s, where I sat at an old brown table in the corner. The waitress seems to know me now, though I don’t go in more than once or twice a year. I sat and read Ink in Water, a graphic memoir about anorexia which is just great, and it turns out, is illustrated by Lala’s teacher (all hail the Mills library letting alums check out books!). I read and read. I ate my crab melt sandwich. Oh, god, it’s only tuna fish on steroids, really, that’s all it is, but on the crisp white bread, with the melting cheese, it’s heaven. Then I got a coffee (in the afternoon! Decadence!) and ate olallieberry pie a la mode. All while reading. I devoured dessert, of course, hoovering it up in what felt like seconds, but I made the coffee last. I didn’t check Twitter. I didn’t look at email. I just read. The reading was as delicious as the food. The air smelled like pine from the big Christmas tree in the lobby, and I could hear two waitresses gossiping about overbooking tables for Christmas. There was a couple seated near me when I arrived but they cleared out by the time my food arrived. I had the whole dining room to myself. I hid in my wee corner, listening to the noises of the attached bar, the old building, and the staff, and I was there. My happy place.
Then I drove the wrong direction, just five minutes south, to climb down to the rocks and tide pools. I managed to catch magic hour.
The golden sunlight filled up the holes in the crazy rocks, and the sun melted into the ocean. The water was a blue I can’t remember ever seeing before – a milk–pewter, with sunlight trailing silver sparks.
I breathed. And I took some pictures, of course, because it seems almost impossible to be somewhere amazing without doing that. And I don’t mind – I have thousands of ocean pictures, none of them ever capturing what it was like, but I love the attempt and the memory of the day the photos leave behind. I drove home before the sunset but noticed it happening to my left as I drove up PCH, so I pulled over just as it plunged into the sea. It did that crazy melting–flattening thing as if someone had stuck the whole sun back into the fire and was pounding it out. The glowing, dripping ball of hot yellow metal slid right underneath the ocean’s top blanket. I clapped once, and then started the car and headed for home.
Get a Free Short Story!
Subscribe to get a free copy of Socks for Alex, a Cypress Hollow Short Story, compatible with all devices!