Shangri-La

Just after darkness falls, we sit between crashing ocean waves and a glowing rainbow of ferris wheel lights from the Santa Monica pier, drowned out in roller coaster screams. We are sitting above it all, our eyes wide, our faces illuminated with light. The rooftop was full of other couples who wanted to be closer to the stars.

I can see into the backyards of a row of houses nestled under a forest of palm trees swaying with the gentle breeze, casting shadows on the city below them. I wonder if the people who lived there had lives as beautiful as the dancing shadows of the palm trees overhead. I wonder if they still got high off the ocean air floating above them like ghosts. I’m up away from it all. Everything is below us at the moment. Even the ghosts. The happy go lucky young people having a wild night out, the same people who are actually sometimes damaged people wandering around the city. The sad people, the happy people. The souls who never find eachother. Those are the real ghosts.

He disappears and finds us more champagne. I grasp the cold metal railing. It’s sticky with sea mist and ocean rust. I teeter over the edge. I’m being reckless, but I know I’m still safe up here. Sipping the bubbles of cold champagne and inhaling the summer air. I felt as rich as Gatsby in that moment. It was like I had never really tasted champagne until tonight, a moment burning away like a golden sparkler in West Egg. I took a deep breath and stared up at the blanket of velvet night sky. The stars seemed to light up one by one. There wasn’t a single thing I was doing, except watching the city fade away into night. 

Now the ocean across the street is dark, its blue green colors have dissolved into something black and endless. It is mysterious in its endlessness, it is almost terrifying with its unexplored depths. Sometimes people are like the ocean. They have their blue green days and their stormy gray days, but they never stop loving you. They always come back, as constant as the gentle waves. How wonderful it must be to be a part of something that could just go on forever. 

I am looking for a love so real, I’m terrified it does not exist. I am looking for something in this existence that will take me to the sky. I’m searching for this feeling, at these great heights with the entire city below me. It can’t be put into words, but tonight sometimes I think it can. This night, that feels almost painfully romantic. A night I don’t want to end.  

“Are you ready to go?” 

The warmness in his smile tells me I am. 

Maybe this is the beginning of something wonderful. I guess I’d have to take that chance. I hold his gaze until he grabs my hand and leads me out of the bar. He is always holding my hand.

We stepped into the elevator off the rooftop. Away from the sky, out of the stars, back down to earth.

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