We Must Be in California

We Must Be in California

A Story by Brenden Bow

This is utter nonsense. I haven't a clue as to why I wrote it. I just emptied my head, and let it fill of its own accord. This is my recording of that.

It was a hot west coast summer. The air was thick with heat and the sky was a beautiful turquoise with only a few wispy white imperfections marring its majesty, its wonder. The beach was crowded with a variety of people. They played in the ocean or in the sand. Children ran at the receding waves, giggling and retreating as the water surged towards them. Chubby-bellied fathers and mothers lay under their parasols, reading or sleeping, having as much fun as their children �" and exerting less energy. Beach homes littered the beach, looming over the water like angry gods.

Jared and Melinda laughed with each other. Having not a single clue as to where they were, they poked one another with much enthusiasm. On a jet plane, that's where they had been, that's where they had fallen from. It was quite clear that they were stuck here, on the beach, and the sun's light was bright, bearing down on them. They had been a couple for three years and did practically everything together. They were in love, yes. Oh, how they were in love. But, Melinda's mother was scared of commitment, so, they postponed being matrimonially tied until she was ready.

In preparation for the coming event, they had been playing games with each other. At the moment, they ran down the beach, playing tag, the warm sand feeling amazing against their toes. They yelled, "Aloha, my happy west coast friend!" as they passed people. 

Jared, flipping his long hair out of his face, asked her, "Do you feel alive?"

Melinda replied, "The blue air is up there and if I could bring it down, I'd bottle it up and save it for a sweet summer night."

After a while, they came upon a large, castle-looking Gothic home entirely devoid of color other than black and white. Looking at each other and nodding, they made the decision to enter. Holding hands, they crossed the threshold and were met by the sight of a rainy, sad skyline. The sky above the city was grey and filled to the brim with planes. Stood on a rusty fire escape, the couple continued holding hands, regarding the stormy celestial sea.

A gust of wind hit them, sending them through a large window and into the dreary apartment that had once been behind them. The room was unlike the house they had seen on the beach. The room wasn't specifically black and white; there were shades of grey, too. Letting their hands separate, they began searching the apartment. 

And so, the split couple searched the seemingly never-ending expanse of rooms, corridors and hallways before they finally came together years later. Jared's blonde hair had turned grey and unkempt and he had grown a beard somewhere along the line. Melinda was a mere shell of the beauty she had been. No, she wasn't even that. She was too wide to fit in that shell anymore. She had grown wrinkly and angry-eyed. 

They embraced upon seeing each other and began setting to work, beginning the event. They carved a door into the apartment's living room's floor. Together, hand-in-hand, they stepped into the hole and fell down, down, down they fell. Time passed and they awoke on their backs, on the beach. Jared gazed upon his love as she slept and when she woke, they stared at each other, smiling. The young man and young woman were filled with youth once more. It was like their journey within the world of gray had never even occurred. 

Standing up, they jogged to the ocean and jumped in. The warm salt water engulfing them took them by surprise and �" almost in unison �" the two realized they must be in California. They knew the New Year was out there. They knew they would never feel alone in each other's arms.

Suddenly, they were somewhere else. They were up in the stars, speeding through the great beyond as mere cosmic silhouettes. Their bodies reflected the universe's mystique. Galaxies made up of uncountable stars found their home on the lovers' black shadow bodies. As they soared through the universe, they left trails of particles and debris behind them. Comets, odd comets, that's what they were. 

Up in the stars, Melinda knew she'd be anywhere where 'her' stars were. She knew how where they would go: places no one else knows. 'When you hit the ground, baby, maybe you'll see the only way to fall is down. Just say you need me, say you need me and I'll come down. I don't think we can know if we let it all go, so hang on.'

Jared thought, 'Look in my eyes. We know each other like our own skin and bones. We know the scars, how they got where they are while in places no one else knows. If you call this love, well, this is a great feeling. For you, I bend into shapes that I never knew.'

If it all came undone, unraveling like a ball of yarn, they would do what they always did. They would tie up their loose ends. The colors sometimes ran, sure, and things occasionally blended into one monotonous monochromatic picture, but that didn't mean there wasn't art in it, emotion or love. Why? Because the only way they could fall was down and they fell from on high. 

Jared knew what he'd say if she asked him to stop his heart: he'd wait. In a world such as theirs, a love like that was hard to find. To each other, they were more than silhouettes. One could never let the other stray out of their view. 

Just as suddenly as they had gone, they were once again back in the ocean. Jared found it hard to look away from her, his lover. Yes, he found it hard to look away, because, in her eyes, the daylight never strayed. Her eyes became teary as the darkness surrounded them. He wiped them away, her tears. He found they were warming to the body. 

Unable to breathe, they didn't care. All that mattered to the young couple was being together. Under the murky waves, they told each other, "If I could fly away, this would be just a dream. Dreams never die when we sleep. We're here, finally, we're here. We're in California. We must be. We must be in California."

© 2012 Brenden Bow

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Added on June 13, 2012
Last Updated on June 13, 2012


Brenden Bow
Brenden Bow


I've been writing for nine years. It's a solitary art, writing; seclusion works wonders for one's evolution as a writer. I enjoy secluding myself for days, sometimes weeks, with my work. more..