To My Catalina,
The wind whips tears into my eyes. That is what I tell the others as we watch your shores dwindle and vanish into the peacock-hued horizon. The ferry, with a cheerful hoot, leads me farther away from you, so far, so far. Was it only a week ago that we first met, my cold feet sopping from the gray lapping waters as I stepped onto your fog encrusted isle? It is an eternity, as if you had always known me, every part of me. That moment when you enfolded me within your arms, your moored boats nodding reassuringly to a weary and spirit sore traveller, that moment I knew. I knew I could right myself here. I could be free. I could be me.
I took advantage of your welcome, tramping unheeded on your companionship, happy to take whatever you gave. You gave unstintingly from the wild nooks of your beige-green knolls to the delicate florets of your garden. How did you perform such magic so that my blind stumbles transmuted into daily journeys of wonder? These were the perfect days of my life when, without knowing what I wanted, I received love in abundance.
It is a hackneyed phrase, but a heart can break through parting. Mine is shattering like an overheated balloon. All the while, I am thinking, “When will I see you again? When will I return?” Was there a moment…no…I won’t ask you that, the answer may not be what I want. Instead, I’ll tell myself that you looked inconsolable too at our farewell. Those few drops I felt on my shoulder, surely they were your tears.
I shall notice you now in everything familiar, in the roughness of the round beach pebbles, in the prickly stems of the cactus leaves, in that interminable silver cloak of brume you insisted upon donning each morning. I shall see your soul everywhere and while doing anything I shall be repeating, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” I am already saying it with every surge and ebb of the waves that pull me from you towards the California mainland. Now you can no longer hear me say the words to you I shall say them habitually. It shall be my mantra against the unknown. I am afraid. Glaring ambiguity swells through me, uncertainty swirls around me. Where do we go from here? What course is charted for you and I? You remain mute, unconcerned, while I plot and scheme for ways to return to you tomorrow, next week, the month after. Tell me there is hope for us, Catalina. Tell me you will always reserve a place for me, the stranger who loves you, to whom you returned self and psyche and life. I cannot say anymore to you; do I need to? You know my essence and with you I have never needed words.
The Art Deco style Catalina Casino dominates the scenery of the island’s capital city Avalon. Built in 1929 by American chewing gum tycoon William Wrigley Jr., the casino was the first movie theater built for “talkies” (films with accompanying soundtrack). An acoustic virtuoso, the resplendent cinema hosted iconic film producers Cecil B. DeMille, Louis B. Mayer, and Samuel Goldwin at many of their premiers. The auditorium continues to showcase newly released titles to captivated audiences.
Is there a destination that has captured your love?