California: Santa Monica + Malibu
Santa Monica is one those magical places that appears insanely beautiful in daylight, but only gets prettier as it ages towards dusk. The heart of its streets are always buzzing with curious and wide eyed by-passers.
This is the place that Kieran and I would dwell amongst during our dinner and movie dates. We would often go to an Italian restaurant with fairy lights hanging over wilting trees in a busy courtyard and I would order pasta and wine and Kieran would have a beer with his pizza. Then we would zig-zag throughout the streets, holding hands wandering towards the movie theatres trying to catch a movie on time.
This is the second time we had visited Santa Monica during our trip. We had come here briefly to meet a group of our friends for dinner and drinks on the night before Coachella took place. There were eight of us; two had been dwelling amongst California for several weeks already, Kieran and I had just finished our two month love affair with the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Nevada, the rest had only just arrived on American soil the day before. We all had a sense of excitement and eagerness in our ways that night as we shared Mexican food, wine and stories to our hearts content.
Sadly, as the days passed, our need to sell Chevy started to become apparent. And so we needed somewhere to station ourselves; a place where we could continue our explorations and a place where keen buyers could come and see our beloved home on the road. We had the Malibu Beach RV Park that sits on top of a grassy hill, overlooking the seaside. There we dwelled for days on end.
Because the ocean is your neighbour here, you wake up and fall asleep to the smell of the ocean breeze and the sound of the constant waves crashing on the shore nearby. I spent hours scribbling stories and love-letters in my notebook, having picnics with Kieran and daydreaming the days away.
Countless people would pop in for a visit who showed interest in Chevy. I would always stand from afar and listen to strangers asking Kieran a million questions; How does it run? What is it like to sleep in? What type of engine has it got? He would always answer their queries in a solemn manner. Kieran has always teased me about putting a personality and giving names to inanimate objects. I would feel the constant urge to interrupt and tell them that Chevy runs like a dream, it feels just like home sleeping in him and his heart (engine) is as big as any. With numerous pending offers, I can sense that very soon, it will be time to pack our things and say goodbye to our little man.
A week had passed during our downtime in Malibu when I received a heartbreaking phone-call from my worried Mother who told me that my sick Grandmother in the Philippines had wished for the family to all fly over to see her to say our goodbyes. Without hesitating, I put America on hold and flew further and further away from Kieran, but closer and closer to grant my Grandmother her wish. On the plane I felt very lonely and vulnerable, but I was comforted by the thought of holding my Mother and younger sister's hands throughout it all. When all was said and done, I hopped back on the plane to endure the long and gruelling hours of travelling back to America alone.
While I was soaring in the air, I thought about just how much goodbyes like that really hurt. How loving and loosing can leave a hole in your heart so deep it may never fully recover. I started to remember other things I've had to say goodbye to in the past. Like losing my favourite toy when I was a kid, or losing my first love in high-school. From there it got bigger and bigger. Like saying goodbye to my Father who passed and losing my happiness along the way because of it. But I tried to find the beauty amongst it all. And how throughout all the loss there are lessons learned. And in the end, it's what makes my skin thicker. I continually prove to myself that my heart can carry on beating whilst being resonated in all the memories of those that I have loved and lost.
My plane landed and I collected my bags and dragged them with me towards the exit sign. It had been a week and there was Kieran standing there with comfort in his eyes and flowers in his hands. He took the weight from the bags I was carrying, as he did with the worries on my shoulders. He is my light in every tunnel. Behind him was Chevy, Kieran purposely didn't sell him whilst I was away so that we could spend more time together as a happy little family on my return. The very next day, we woke up and planned brand new adventures for our last two weeks ahead in America. And just like that — this beautiful shiny world continued to spin around me.