Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world. I also have a soft spot for Rome and for my past home(hey a month in a city is living there!), New York City. Nashville is beginning to grow on me. I love San Francisco so much I can’t seem to tear myself away. But Long Beach? Yes, Long Beach has become special to me.
Long Beach is a seaside city in Southern California. It has a great aquarium, its own airport, and is home to rap’s Snoop Dogg. But romantic? When compared to the Eternal City or the City of Lights or the Big Apple, Long Beach does not have the same appeal. It has the typical collection of fabulous hotels, chain restaurants and stores. So what is it about Long Beach that has come to make me smile like an idiot and sigh over and over again?
The last time I was in Long Beach, back in February, I was in the middle of an emotional crisis. I was reeling off a fling gone bad with a philandering lothario. A friend(I didn’t even consider him a close friend yet) had recently experienced his own emotional breakdown. We were nursing each other as best we could. On the Sunday I left for Long Beach(for a teaching conference put on exactly by/for the same program as today), I was in tears and thinking about death. My own. I had spoken to Soldier twice before I got into Long Beach. I took his advice and threw myself into the conference. I soaked in the classroom observations. I caught up with Amigo and my other colleagues. I took an early morning swim beneath a beautiful moon. That Monday night, I had a long conversation with Soldier. I knew then that I had found a good friend. But when I hung up the phone, I was filled with other emotions. I felt romantic longing and the early embers of desire. I wept for a solid ten minutes. That night, a feeling emerged, one that continues to blossom, in an array of intensity, color, and experience.
He might argue that I’m not in love. Perhaps it is too soon to feel true love. But I am happy and open to the possibility. And that has nothing to do with romantic cities. That has to do with us.