Some people spend the holidays in snow, around fireplaces, in mittens, in bundles.
We spend ours at the sea.
California is full of ghosts, a haunted piece of a former life that begs revisiting once or twice a year. I covet this time with family, but spend these sunny trips trying to swallow the nagging feeling that any moment my past will walk around a corner, like the me that could have been is wandering the streets of this dusty place, living the road I abandoned, making the choices I didn’t make.
I carry hope into California, laughing in a backpack, beaming her smile at southern strangers. Love walks along holding my hand. I am encapsulated in the truth of the life I love, but the bubble feels fragile, the memory is pungent –
one strong gust of eucalyptus and everything might come undone.
Still I am home on these sea hills where my grandfather walked, sand in our shoes, and here I still hear him. Here he hovers in my grandmother’s smile, the scent of her perfume, the precious touch of her hand. His stories echo off the walls of the sea.
And I will suffer all your ghosts, California, to walk here with his.