Santa Monica Pier


The dense morning fog was beginning to lighten when I crawled out of bed. Every thought that crossed my mind seemed wrong, and a disturbing ache filled my gut. I dressed, grabbed my camera, and slipped out of our room, careful not to wake Donna. I had no idea what the sparse light would present but putting my mind on finding photos would be better than laying in bed. I made my way through town to the pier entrance only to find a locked gate. Damn. But with a bit of effort, I found a way around and strolled down the long ramp. A few minutes later, a police car slowed as it passed but then kept going, giving me permission. 

I shuffled along the wood pilings towards the end of the pier, inhaling whiffs of sea and tar. An otherworldly gauze coved everything with damp stillness. A few morning denizens made their way in and out of the darkness. The soft light dissolved into the fog as I stood captivated, my eye in the viewfinder, making adjustments to accommodate the hooded dawn. I heard a few steps on the wooden planks behind me and felt a man watching with friendly interest as if we’d already met. After several shots, I turned to say good morning. But only the damp pier fading into the distance stood before me.