I spend a lot of my free time at Santa Monica pier. During a really dark period it was a place for me to come and find peace. Walking over crashing waves and the sound of laughter and happy screams while I bid adieu to a fading sun was how my faith was restored.
It is humbling to be surrounded by the ocean and under a star filled sky with the extremely affluent and the destitute.
This week I had been coming to the pier to look for my favorite performer. Night after kid free night, I made the drive and parked my car. I walked quickly to find the elusive solitary guitarist.
One night a few months ago he was singing a Lit song and I was singing with him and everything was right in that moment. There was joy that forced through the sadness I drove there with.
Yesterday I decided on a Bloody Mary with a girlfriend. Our plans were postponed and I ended up at the pier, and when I didn’t see him, I decided on having that drink alone. I got home safe and there was minimal drunk texting involved. (Plenty of morning after embarrassment though.)
Today I found him. He was sitting and dejected. The depression around him was heavy. He opened up about his life and being burned out. He talked about his love life and his family. He took me behind the curtains of the image he shows the world.
I encouraged him to do what was right for him. I told him about unconditional love not coming as an exchange or with expectations. I told him it’s possible to love someone even if you’re no longer in their life. I told him about being the parent I want my kids to have. I spoke into his life the way I do when I care. It means there are no boundaries. It means I’m glad I was able to tell him how much his music meant to me. I said goodbye. I may never see him again and the moments of encouragement he offered without knowing will always be treasured.
I don’t think he’ll know how much he gave me and I only gave him a few dollars from time to time, not knowing the weight of his existence because I only wanted what he was adding to mine.
For now I will find another artist to appreciate. I will lean in to what is being sung and appreciate how carefully melodies weave into my darker places and renew hope.
I’ll watch people with puppies in their arms and I’ll look from afar because puppy breath is addictive, like crack.
I’ll watch beautiful men watching their phones because they’re too busy catching Pokemon to notice me.
I’ll talk to babies and live in the gratitude of knowing they are not mine.
And I’ll learn through moving forward that it doesn’t do me any good to rely on any one person to be the balm of healing for my itchy parts. And I’ll learn that not everything that itches should be scratched.