Saturday, June 8, 2013

S.S.B.B. Revisited

When you are sorrowful look into your heart and you shall see
that you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
~ Kahlil Gibran

We started dating in the summer (read Smooch and Illegal).  Sunshine, warm weather, being outdoors, bronzing suntan...all that the season offers, for Boomer and I, was our shared lifeblood.  Chicago summers are, well, in a word - -  fleeting (one supporting reason on our move to Florida) - - blink and it's Labor Day.     I use to love to tan - - naturally outdoors.  I was hardcore; a finely tuned technique of creating a perfectly even tan was my personal body art.  I could have gone pro. Over the course of summer, in those few brief months, I masterfully transformed my aesthetic appearance from modest Irish lass to saucy Latina.  

In 1993, when I first moved to Evanston (read Band-aid),  I lived approximately 100 yards from the beach.  South Boulevard Beach, one of the town's several public beaches along Lake Michigan's shore that got it's name for it's location, adjacent to the intersection of Sheridan Road and South Boulevard, the southern-most point bordering Chicago along the lake.  This is where I spent my summer weekends, most of them, tinting myself, and honing a very sophisticated method of averting sand, uh, er, uh, just about every where, especially where it was never welcome.  You see, I love the beach - - hate the sand.  Sand's invasiveness is my Achilles' heel.

It was this proximity to the beach, that first convinced me of Boomer's ulterior motives to always wanting to be in Evanston when we spent time together - - trying to get to my town - - or perhaps rather, the beach.

A Time-Sensitive Matter
My work schedule during the summer was calibrated so I worked half-days on Fridays - - get me to the beach thank you very much.   On those Fridays when Boomer would be joining me there later, his anticipation was greater than mine.  That's what excited me.  I was excited over his excitement.   It was he who cleverly created S.S.B.B., SMO's South Boulvevard Beach, leaving a message from a few floors away (read Coming Out), just as I was leaving the office with a  loving reminder of things to come.   S.S.B.B. really became B.N.S.S.B.B. -  Boomer and SMO's South Boulevard Beach.  Any why it was a major tour-stop during my return to Chicago (read Pilgrimage).

We established routine within S.S.B.B.  Daytime the beach is where we basked.  From the entrance, we always veered right, south end of the beach and close to the water.  Boomer would read the paper, books, while seated in a lounging sand chair.  Me, spread out on a blanket, ear buds secured, napping, meditating, nose in a magazine now and then.  Together, we'd go for an ankle-deep walk in the water, me on the left, Boomer right (read Left,Right)  end-to-end of the beach, cooling ourselves and getting our lazy butts a little mobile.   Nighttime, let's just say the occasional after-dark maneuvers are romantic, memorable, and funny enough, always veered to the left at the north end of the beach. I guess you could say that amidst our creatures-of-habitness we still covered the whole beach.
My plan was to visit S.S.B.B., with some take out food - - gyros and greek fries from Cross-Rhodes, the place where we liked our grease fix, always doing take-home - - and where Boomer always spoke in a weird broken Japanese-English accent when he'd say we're getting "gyros and gleek flies."   The last stop in my pilgrimage tour before the pinnacle sail and luncheon scheduled for the next day.  It was too cold to go - - to the beach that is.  With my team of trusty co-horts, we opted out of the beach picnic and did a dine-in instead at Cross-Rhodes.  It wasn't the same.  It wasn't enough.  I felt hollow and incomplete in my quest.  I still needed to go to the beach - - once more.  Just as I had done at The Loft and NU campus (read Migration).

Boomer woke me up at 3:45 a.m. on Saturday, "Psst, SMO, get up.  Psst, SMO, come on, get up.  You need a bike ride.  Go. Go to the beach.  I'll be waiting."   What blows my mind is, as long as I'd known him,  Boomer was never a morning guy, yet these days, when it comes to pretty important stuff, he continues to reach out to me at my optimal time of day - - morning.  I was out the door at 4:50 a.m.  He was right.  I needed this sunrise ride, to clear and strengthen my mind, my body and my heart for the day ahead.  The air was a brisk 51-degrees, low wind, the streets were empty and all the lights were green on the easy 4-mile route.

I reached the beach just at the time the horizon began to break.  I threw the bike my friend Betsy loaned me over my right shoulder like a handbag and walked out on the soft sand, closer to the water.  The sand was firm and solid at the shore, allowing me to rest Betsy's bike against the raised life guard chair without it getting all schmutzed with sand.  It it my nature you know - - sand aversion. 

B and S at S.B.B.
I stood there at the water's edge - - watching, listening.  The air temperature began to warm; the time is 5:20 a.m.  A bright dome emerges on the horizon, its reflection gleaming against the water.  "That's what I'm talking about..." I said, witnessing that the sun is present.  It is rising.  Boomer is there.  He is reminding me that this was "our" beach.  So it began, so it will conclude with warmth and sunshine.  My breath deepens, a slow, purposeful inhalation and exhalation,  one that opens my heart to take it in this private time at maximum capacity for he and I.  Boomer -n- SMO at S.S.B.B. for the last time.

It was at that very moment I noticed a random tree branch, thin, sturdy, laying on the ground 3 feet away.  Ah-ha, a ceremonial sand-scribing creation is in high order and oh so appropriate.  I etch the sand, sprinkle the ashes I brought along, and climb to the top of the lifeguard chair to sit in stillness, in silence, out of the sand, but not alone.

The first glance back to the etched sand I see the wave flow in close, nearly touching the B.  I look away, returning my sights to the open water and shining sun.  A few minutes pass, I glance again, Boomer has been washed away with the undertow.  I gasp with the pounding of my heart over how literal it is.  I sit a little longer to cry in this good-bye.  At next glance, the sand is just as I found it, firm and smooth.  "You're done SMO.  Mission accomplished. Now go finish that ride, for me, for you, for us."  Time 5:51 a.m. 

It was perfect.  It was what I needed.  I couldn't have planned it that way, it found me.  The absolute perfect completion to S.S.B.B. revisited and launch to the day ahead...

You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes
Well you might find
You get what you need...
~ The Rolling Stones

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