True Love – Essay by Ethan Ish
Nate had just finished unpacking all his things and was enjoying the view of Pacifica through the window. Nate left San Francisco, to get away from city life. He needed to move somewhere a little more… peaceful. That was not the only reason Nate had moved to Pacifica. She was the reason. He had met her months before, on his way to work. He had to take a detour, and as he was driving, he saw her. He knew her home was in Pacifica, but he was still worried that work would get in the way, so he switched to an office in Pacifica. Slowly, a thick layer of fog clouded his window. He wondered if it was a sign that he was letting love cloud his vision of the real world.
Nate woke up the next day with a horrible ache in his back from picking up boxes. He made a cup of coffee, sat down at his dining table. He thought about turning on the television but decided to look outside. The plants in his backyard showed vibrant colors, and the dew on them glistened. It was still foggy out, but it was beautiful. Finally, a while later, he was ready for work. He got in his car, and began driving to his office. On the way, he saw her again. Entranced by her beauty, he began to wonder if he would get to meet her again. He passed by Rockaway Beach, admiring the cliffs next to it, and the beauty of the water crashing against them. He drove over the large hill overlooking Linda Mar, and noticed all the surfers at the beach on their surfboards. He looked up, and saw a thick sheet of fog, like a white blanket wrapped around the mountains. It was alluring . It was like a rainy day, without the rain. Finally, he arrived at his work near the Linda Mar Beach. At work, it was all he could think about. Every time he talked with a client, all he could focus on was the clock, waiting for the time when they could be together.
At the end of a long day, Nate wearily left for home. The Pacifica skyline of restaurants and small buildings made the air glow around Manor Plaza. As he arrived home, he realized he would have no time to visit her tonight. He never had enough time to see her. All he ever got were short glimpses, imagining what could be, hoping that maybe he could have a chance. But work always got in the way. Life always got in the way. Finally, at 11 p.m., he went to bed, thoughts racing through his mind. I already missed my first chance to see her since I moved here. That could have been my only chance to see her, and I blew it. I let my work get in the way. Again…
The same thing happened every day, for a whole week. That Friday, Nate sat on a bar stool in a taproom near Linda Mar Beach. He was talking to somebody he did not even know, somebody he had never met in his entire life, yet he felt comfortable sharing his feelings about work, and how badly he missed his love. He talked with the man as if they had known each other their whole lives. That’s how it was in Pacifica; everybody treated each other like friends. You always felt safe.“You gotta ignore the work if you wanna be with her,” the man said. That’s all anybody said when Nate asked around. Ignore the work, focus on seeing her again. But it was not that simple, at least not to Nate. He had to choose between pursuing the love of his life or pursuing his work. The work that he was so used to. This work that allowed him to feel safe, and chasing her seemed like too much of a risk to him. He lay in his bed that night, restless. He could not stop thinking about it. He wanted so badly to see her again, to be close to her again, even if for a short while. It weighed heavy on him for weeks to come, until finally, he made his decision.
The next Friday, Nate had a lot of work in the office, but he missed her. He longed to see her. He got up and put on his suit. It felt wrong, but right at the same time. As he drove away from his house, his confidence grew. He looked at the fog, the rocks, and the mountains. They were all so strong, withstanding the attack of the ocean waves day after day. He felt stronger, too. He knew he was making the right decision. Finally, Nate stopped his car at Linda Mar Beach. He checked the time: 7:00 a.m., then checked his charts. He opened the trunk of his car and got his bag out. He admired the people having fun on the beach, playing catch, swimming, and surfing. Surfing. He opened his bag, and there it was. His surfboard. He gently lifted it out of the bag, running his hand along the side. He could feel the scratchy, used paint job. The board was dusty, reminding him just how long it had been since he had used the board, since he had felt truly free. He double-checked his wetsuit, his heart pounding with excitement. He began to walk toward the shoreline, feeling the silky sand sift through his toes, then the soft scratch of pieces of bark in the sand. Finally, he reached her. He began to run towards the water, then he threw his board into the water, jumped onto it, and began to paddle. He was with her at last, he felt one with her. He got up and breathed in the fresh air. He felt truly free, being with the one he loved most; the Pacific Ocean. The love of his life.
Ethan Ish won 1st place in the under 18 category for the 2019 Fog Fest Essay Contest with the theme of ‘Discover Pacifica’. Learn more about Fog Fest Annual Essay contest here.