My parents brought me here and then I brought them here. The park has changed a little bit but everything else is basically just the same as it was when I was nine, or when they were nine.
Asking for quarters for the telescopes on the pier and parents saying no.
Looking into the buckets of the people fishing, watching the fish flop around.
Dodging seagulls and pigeons.
The loudspeaker calling out orders from the roof of Ruby’s Diner.
Peeking through the cracks into the water underneath.
Standing at the very end of the pier, sometimes getting lucky and seeing a whale or a seal or a pod of dolphins playing close.
The creak of the swingset. The splash of the showers.
It all sounds the same, it all smells the same, it all feels the same.
I remember when you could eat on the roof at Ruby’s. I remember thinking a vanilla Coke was just about the best thing in the entire world. I remember my stepdad challenging us to tie cherry stems into a knot in our mouths, and how I always could. I remember my sons begging for more time to climb the triangle structure, always wanting to go higher and stay at the top. I remember pushing my daughters on the swings forever and ever. I remember when the line to the bathroom was out the door and around the corner, and I was about six, and my mom marched us past the entire line and into the stall no one wanted to use because it had no door, and she held a towel up for me so I could go, and I figured everyone in there must think we were the smartest people in the world. I remember in high school when I brought my boyfriend/husband here and he spent his first paycheck on a long black flowery dress for me.
I remember so much and yet on this day it all overlapped and seemed like it never happened, like it wasn’t me and it wasn’t them in those memories. It can’t possibly have been us, because those people aren’t us now and they still exist don’t they? Somehow? I felt heavy with all the experiences I have had here, heavy with time and age, with shock that so much life and tragedy and happiness has passed and the swings are still creaking, the speaker on top of Ruby’s is still calling out orders, and the kids are still climbing higher, and higher, to the top.