Darkness. The gentle hum of a fan. Two bodies, barely recognizable under the sheets, save for the light glow of the moon intruding under and over the curtains.
There’s some shuffling as she rolls over to face his left ear. First a few quiet breaths, then she inhales and whispers, “I love you.”
It was in that moment staring up into the darkness that a choice had to be made. The memories of the last three years passed through his mind like a freight train through the plains.
The walls had come down and so began the systematic dismantling of his very soul. She did it quietly, but barbaric, like an anachronistic surgeon. It wasn’t the same assassin, but the same glare in her eye.
It took him time to even get to the point of opening up to anyone again, let alone trusting them, let alone loving them.
Yet, with all of the courage he could muster, he turned back and said, “I love you too.”
With that, the demolition began again, to lay waste to every brick he salvaged. Piece by piece, every screw removed. Put aside for her to look at and admire like trophies. Fawning over her own bloody work.
Finally was able to get up to Malibu today. The devastation from the wildfires last month is immeasurable. 97,000 acres of beautiful land, burned to ash. Over 1,600 structures destroyed. 3 people died. This is completely separate of the Camp Fire that burned in Northern California at the same time. Our environment is at critical mass.
I used to head up to Malibu more often than I do now to clear my head and write at a Starbucks right across from Zuma Beach. I’ll usually leave West Hollywood early in the day, taking the 101 North, and the Kanan Road exit. It’s an amazing drive through the canyon, a few tunnels directly through the Santa Monica Mountains, and finally down to the Pacific Coast Highway.
Before the relatively quick descent, there’s a turnoff that I usually stop at. It’s lined with tan-colored boulders, mostly to act as a barrier for any unruly driver, but they make excellent seats as most of the tops are flat. I would stop and gaze out over the majesty sprawling out before me. On a clear day, you could see all the way through to the ocean, which is about 4 miles away. I’ve taken photos from the same spots, more or less, over the last few years.
Today was vacant the sound of birds, or the green hues of a vibrant planet. Left were the remains of a world burned.
It’ll be another 25 years before it begins to look like I remember it.