Santa Cruz Short Story (Fiction)

Of course, Marie, who was old enough to know something, knew nothing when the world changed, and everything flipped. Nothing was for certain, and almost everything could change, especially if you're a young artist, musician, or visionary tripping through the Santa Cruz community instead of at a 9-5 job.


Upon arrival back to Santa Cruz, all she said to me was, “Oh I hardly recognized you. You still always go to Cafe Gratitude, right?”

“Cafe Gratitude?” I asked, feeling like an exception to the rules. The rest of Santa Cruz has been adrift; everyone flipping out of the past or future into the present here and who knows where. After 10 years in the same place, everything goes on. Nothing gets lost. That’s what’s important. “Of course, we’re heading over there right now.”

“Really,” said Marie, as she drapes her prayer beads around her neck. “Who do you know that’s still around?”

I find myself spending more time at Divinitree chanting kirtan and at Staff of Life market drinking tea than anywhere else here in Santa Cruz, but standing still with Marie I could not help but remember. "They come and go", I add, "Maybe a Rasputin or a klezmer from the future will take their place." Standing with Marie she looks like a new age yogic time traveller, wearing yoga ayahuasca print clothing and gemstones.  We sit, sip tea, and eat raw vegan pie.

The world goes on, business almost as usual. The weekly Wednesday farmers market outside is a carnival; filled with strange faces, and a variety of jewelry makers, organic farmers, acupuncturists, shamanic priests, University students, etc.   There is a thick, rich patina of sophisticated culture here. People whirl around us. The community here is a kaleidoscope of colors, melting into different characters as the people stroll through the market.

Marie and I move through the crowds. Marie is spending more time on the streets, and was putting the world together, seeing where it was, where it might be, and might not be. Sometimes people momentarily run free, only to trip somewhere else where they are again grabbed and worked until they can trip again, and again and again until old logic falls apart. The Beach flats were a bad part of town. The city parks and green belts have been turned into havens for squatters.

Therefore, Marie did nothing but pray. She spent most of her time on the beach praying for a sign and tripped over a book of apocrypha stories that was stuck in the sand. Before her was the ocean. Time is a hole, she thought, and she could feel it’s pull. Nighttime was no longer dark. Everything circled with the crystal light and prayer. A closer look at the cliffs by the shore revealed caves and hideouts cut into the sandstone. Where else was there to be?

Perhaps tomorrow she’ll do crystal healing or play the flute, finding old friends in communal houses. Today, she’ll sit and connect with the ocean.

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