It’s a beautiful morning. I woke to the sunshine flowing through my window warming up my face. There is a cool breeze coming through also. I left the windows open last night because, even though it was 2am, the temperature was still up around 65 degrees. That is Florida for you. I get out of bed, brush my teeth, light up a smoke, and go to make coffee. Thank goodness there is coffee. I don’t seem to function too well without it. While the coffee is brewing I go grab Brian’s phone number. I really need the wi-fi password. Or maybe I just want a reason to call him. I find his number, grab my cell phone, and dial the number. It goes directly to voicemail. It is kind of early. I imagine him up early, at the beach before sunrise, waiting for that perfect wave. I hope it came in. I leave a message for him to call me back.
Well, now that is off my plate for now, I think of my journey today. I hear Vanilla Ice in my head singing “A1A Beachfront Ave. Girls were hot wearing less than bikinis, rockin’ lovers drivin’ Lamborghinis…”. Lame, I know, but who doesn’t know the reference? My coffee is done brewing. I pour a cup and grab my route information. I have a semi-long trip ahead of me, but not too bad. It will take me through a couple different towns and I will get a quick view of a lot of different sites. I’m not wearing a bikini, or anything less for that matter, but I will wear my bathing suit under my clothes. I am hoping to find work out by the beach, if I can, so I can’t exactly dress like your typical beach bum. I decide I am going to wear a business casual dress, with decorative flip flops. Still “beachy” but not too relaxed. I like it. I will also bring a set of clothes in my bag to change into in case my dress becomes a nuisance. Ok, time to get dressed, and ready to go.
Checklist: Bag with extra clothes? Check. Wallet? Check. Book for down time? Check. Bottles of water for the trip? Check. Cell phone? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Sunblock? Check. Bus information? Check. Keys? Check. Alright, I’m ready for the quarter mile walk to the nearest stop. My bus arrives in an hour. I’m pretty sure I can get there in time.
I step outside and it is humid. I heard from people before it isn’t as bad by the water, so I am even more anxious to get there. It is 9am and already 74 degrees. This weather will be my demise in this state, if nothing else. There is a slight breeze which is everyone’s saving grace here. I froze a couple bottles of water last night so that they were still cold when I needed them today. They feel good through my bag against my body. It’s helping more than you know.
I can see the stop ahead. I am always leery walking up to a new stop. I have no idea who I will run into. I don’t know anyone here, so that is good. No drowning conversation that I have to pretend to enjoy. There are two ladies sitting on an uncovered bench who seem to be approximately in their 50’s. They are chatting away. Dressed in their golf clothes with their bright pink visors, they look like the stereotypical retiree here in Florida. I see a man leaning on the light pole smoking a cigarette. That will be where I will go since I want to try to keep the smoke in one place. The man doesn’t look threatening at all. He looks to be about 35 and well kept. Just looking at him, you wouldn’t think he was a smoker. He has shades on so no one can tell where he is looking. It seems he is looking down towards the ground, and he is frowning. He must have something serious on his mind. On the opposite end of the bench is a kid with his bicycle. He looks to be about 13 but not in any danger. He looks like he knows what he’s doing. He has been here before. OK, I have scoped out the stop, and I feel like this will be painless.
I walk up to the pole and stand on the opposite side of the man. I light up a smoke, and if you know anything about waiting for a bus, you know that if you want it to come sooner, just light up a smoke. Sure enough, he is barely two hits into his, and I just lit mine, and coming around the corner is our bus. We both rush to put them out and put them back in our packs. Everyone grabs their things, and lines up. The ladies go on first, then the kid tries to get his bike up the steps. The buses here have a bike storage area up front near the driver where riders can strap in their bicycles. The kid is having trouble, so the man helps him out. As the boy hops up the steps, drops his money in, and turns around to grab the bike, the man pushes the back end up and the boy lifts it into the storage rack. The man puts his money in, and I follow him in doing the same. The bus is empty except for those of us that were at my stop. It’s great. It isn’t flooded with degenerates, and neglected people. I take a seat near the middle of the bus by the window so I have a panoramic view of the city as we drive through to Daytona.
I don’t know what happened, but I missed most of my ride. I fell asleep. I don’t know if it was the drone of the semi-empty bus, or what, but I just couldn’t seem to keep my eyes open. I have been super tired lately. I have chumped it up to all the excitement and changes in my life recently. I woke up just in time for me to see us passing the Daytona Nascar track. What a neat view of the track from the street. It looks massive, and intimidating. I would love to go there. There is a pedestrian bridge that crosses over the road and across it spells “Welcome to Daytona”. I am so excited. I can almost feel the sand between my toes. We drive down a few miles more, and I can see the ocean. We pull up to A1A and turn onto the main strip. What a site. There are massive groups of people everywhere. Some in bathing suits, some in less, some on motorcycles with leathers, and some on motorcycles with barely enough to cover their feet, much less anything else on their bodies. I see signs that tell me there is a motorcycle event in town. This place is crazy. Thank God there are signs for the boardwalk and I know there is a way to get to the beach without having to go through this mess. How scary. Everyone seems pretty drunk and disorderly. Not my style. The disorderly part anyway.
The bus stops at the entrance to the boardwalk. I get off and pray to God I don’t get attacked or run over by anyone. I have lived in LA County most of my life, but this is crazier, I think. I walk over to the steps that take me down to the boardwalk. I walk along the storefronts as I feel the salty air on my skin. It is magical. The water is a different color, and the people are way more sexy here. I feel a little out of place, but I seem to fit into the scene just fine. I take off my shoes and walk onto the sand. It is early enough still that the sand is moist and cool on the bottom of my feet. This will give my feet a good scrub. Walking towards the water, I start to think of why I am here. How I made the decision to come here. I thought of the future I saw when I was dreaming of how my move would turn out. I thought about how I was alone, and wishing I was holding someone’s hand right now. I have dated, and been married once. None of which turned out to be my soul mate. Most of my situations, or relationships as most people call them, were results of my survival needs. Since my divorce I really haven’t felt the need for a man. I just got tired of someone else holding my destiny in their hands. They just didn’t care enough to make sure my life was their priority. Once I realized I was the only one that controlled my present, and my future, I was able to rely on my self and not have the need for a man to live. Now I realize, I need someone for companionship, and unconditional love. I need to feel that excitement when I see this person after being gone from them all day. I need to be loved.
I have walked down to the water. I am holding up my dress so I can feel the cool, crisp water on my feet. The beaches are beautiful here. It is still hot near the water, and the humidity is still obvious, but the cool breeze coming off the water makes it all a little more tolerable. I find a spot on the beach, and sit down to enjoy the scenery. The spot I am in doesn’t have too many people near it yet, but I can see there really isn’t any place on the beach that won’t fill up by noon. I think about making sure my phone is one in case Brian calls me back. I really need to be able to get online when I am home or I will go nuts. It’s only lonely when I don’t have anything to do to occupy my mind. I apply sunblock to all the skin that is showing and relax.
Following the same pattern lately, I fall asleep. I start to feel the heat on my face after a couple hours and that wakes me up. The beach is busier now, and there are more people near where I was sitting. I just can’t seem to stay awake, but I feel so good. Refreshed from my nap, and free of concern for just a little bit. The beach does that for me.
I decide to get up and see if there are any places I can apply for a job. I start to walk back to the boardwalk as I am dodging volleyballs, and cars driving up and down the beach. I make it back to the boardwalk safely and start my job search. Most of the shops are closed down, and there is a lot of rental space available. The main stores that seem to survive out here are surf shops, and restaurants. Even then, it is slim pickin’s. I may have to wait to look for work when the motorcycle event is out of town. I need to hit the strip. It is getting pretty busy here in town, and I have released my demons to the ocean, so I decide I am going to head back home. I wish I had more energy, but my anxiety is getting the best of me, and I feel all alone in someone else’s world all of a sudden. I just want to go back to my safety zone, and be alone.
I know, first I complain about being alone, and the next thing you know, that is all I want. This is my dilemma. I just don’t know what I want. I know what I need, but it doesn’t suit my life. I am just too into me right now, I guess. I find my stop, and pray that my bus arrives soon. I pull out the schedule and thank the Lord above that the bus is pulling up just as I do. I really don’t want to be left out here alone with all this chaos.
I sleep most of the way home, of course, and get off at the Elm stop, which is the one closest to my house. I get off the bus, walk home, slip my shoes off, drop my bag on the table and walk over to my couch. I lay down and wish I had heard from Brian. I would really like to get online. My eyes shut, and I sleep a couple more hours. I wake to a knock at the door. Who could this be? I don’t know anyone, and Brian hasn’t called me back yet. I am a little nervous but my house is hidden behind the main house, so I don’t feel too threatened. I walk over as I brush back my hair with my hands, and look through the peephole. It’s Brian. I thought he would call first. I open the door and invite him in. He said he was there to help me get online. I told him he didn’t have to come over, but he said he didn’t mind and was checking in on the main house anyway. His mother isn’t due back until tomorrow. I grab my laptop and he gets me hooked up in no time. He tells me he is finished, and I thank him. There is an awkward silence, and then he pops up out of the chair and asks me if I like pets. I told him I have had pets in the past, but not recently, but that I wasn’t opposed to the idea. He asked what I was doing tomorrow. I didn’t know why he was asking, but I felt like I was blushing regardless. I told him I didn’t have any plans, and he says “Good, I want to take you somewhere.” Now I know I’m blushing, and ask him where. He said it was a surprise, and said to be ready at 9am. I accept and he leaves. I feel like a little school girl. After he leaves the driveway, I dance around with a pillow in my arms, and think about how he is not my type in any way, but a little attention wouldn’t hurt.
My alarm goes off at 7am. I jump up and head into the shower to get ready for Brain to pick me up. I can’t wait to find out where we are going.