The First of September

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I’d lost track of the days. It had become less about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and more about Universal-day, Disneyland-day, California Adventures-day, Fly home-day. We’d packed the week to the brim, but hadn’t scheduled anything for the day of our flight. Our plane wouldn’t leave until seven in the evening, and the furthest we’d gotten in our plan was relax. Sarah suggested a beach; the rest of us had been so focused on squeezing everything out of California’s theme parks, we’d forgotten about its non- (or less) commercial entities.

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We decided on Santa Monica. I’d been wanted to go for a few years now, drawn to the idea of an amusement park on the pier. (Though we’d seen Disney’s version merely the day before. It made the experience a little bittersweet and empty.) It was very The OC/So Little Time/the-only-two-Cali-set-TV-shows-I’d-ever-watched. Yellow sand, blue water, lifeguard huts, the strip of modern beach houses along the boardwalk.

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As I stood thigh-deep in the rolling water—the waves skimming the loose threads of my shorts, the sun keeping me warm, if not a touch too hot—I thought something along the lines of, This is the freaking life. I thought about how, if I lived here, I’d come down to the shores every day, just to dip my legs in the ocean, or settle down on a thin blanket with a bottle of water and a book.
But then I thought, Maybe not. Maybe I’d just get stuck in the city—whether in traffic or just in my head—and never make it out as often as I’d like to. And maybe this is just a fantastic way to spend the first day of September.

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