It was summer, the sun was hanging in the sky just as lazily as I was as on the ground as we walked down the strip at Venice Beach, shades on our eyes, smiles on our face. There's a particular wonder about Venice Beach, a kaleidoscope of walks of life all meshed together, harmoniously getting along. Perhaps it's the sunshine that makes this place so peaceful, or maybe it's the frequent marijuana shops posted along the boardwalk, who knows? But the calm of the afternoon was idyllic for a Saturday. We walked into our favorite watering hole with handshakes and "hey how are you" floating through the air over the noise of the crowd and music humming from the jukebox. The ice cold beer received a chilling welcome on such a hot day, the first one disappearing all too quickly. I can't be sure if I was simply thirsty or excited to get drunk and see where the booze would take me. About a half hour later and another beer down I stepped outside to have a cigarette. People moving all about, young kids on bikes and skateboards hanging in front of the ice cream shop. "How American", I thought and went straight to doing what every body does in the bar, stare at my phone. I was scrolling along when I heard a voice, her voice.

"Do you have a light" she asked.

I looked up to see the most beautiful girl to cross by. Her sandy brown eyes reminded me of quicksand the way the pulled you, helpless and only be pulled further in the more you struggled. They froze me on the spot, and I almost forgot to speak.

"Yeah, sure", I said regaining consciousnesses and lighting her cigarette.

She took a drag and blew the smoke out how a kid would if he was playing with candy cigarettes and then looked at me as if to say "this is the part where you make conversation".

So I said, "You know, I came here to meet you today", She looked shocked.

"To meet me", she asked? "Do we know each other"?

"No, not yet, and not you per say, but I knew I was going to meet someone special, I could feel it on my way out here, the sunshine, the blue sky, it just felt all too right you know, like this was going to be a special day"?

She took another drag from her cigarette and pondered for a moment.

"Wow, that's a lot of pressure on a girl, to be your perfect girl on your perfect day".

"Perfect isn't being flawless, it's recognizing the beauty in the flaws". Yeah, I was laying it on thick now.

"How many girls have you wooed with such poetry I wonder", she asked, hip to my game?

I smiled and replied, "I wonder, how many men have you held hostage with the beauty that's in your eyes".

"I'm Monica"


We shook hands, took another puff of our cigarette, and smiled at each other. Game on.


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