“How gentle is the rain…” The song is blasting on the car radio. I can’t remember who sang it but I can remember exactly what I was doing over forty years ago when it played on the radio of my 1960 Falcon.
I’m speeding down San Vicente Blvd with four of my best friends, one in the front seat, three squished in the back, after spending a sun-baked day at Sorrento Beach, after hours of flirting with cute teenage guys. Transistor radios blaring into the warm air. Baby oil sizzling on our skin. Turning every fifteen minutes to keep our bodies directly in the sun, in those days when the sun wasn’t bad for you.
I’m speeding down San Vicente Blvd. I’m not wearing shoes. We‘re singing at the top of our lungs when in my rear view mirror I see a cop. Like I said, I’ve been speeding. He pulls me over and I’m sure I’m going to be double ticketed: one for speeding, one for not wearing shoes while speeding.
I feel that moment now as if it were yesterday. Seconds into the melody, my cell phone rings. It’s one of the girlfriends from that San Vicente ride. She’s practically crying from happiness, talking so fast I can hardly make out her words. “Quick. Turn on the radio. K-Earth. Guess what’s playing?”
Back then we giggled nervously as the cop pulled us to the side of the road. I pull over now because I can’t see through the tears streaming down my face.
Tears because so much time has passed since those carefree beach days? Because I know I can’t go back to those days? Or is it because after all these years I’m still very much in touch with those friends from those beach days and what could possibly be better?
Sure, we’ve changed throughout the years. As teenagers, we talked about boys and college. And then boys again. Dreaming of life once we entered the “real world.”
In our twenties, some of us started careers. Some of us started families. We talked about diapers, sleepless nights, and bosses who just didn’t appreciate our worthiness. And we did all this from our homes on land lines, since cell phones were still something from sci-fi movies.
In our thirties, we yapped about our kids and spent endless hours on hard benches at sporting events. Even more hours carpooling without the benefit of a phone to connect us to other adults. We talked about staying in shape. Panicked at the sight of a gray hair and God forbid a wrinkle!
As we turned forty, our conversation turned to savings accounts, those for putting our kids through college and for future facelifts. We cheered at the newly discovered “botox” treatment. How fabulous to be able to get rid of wrinkles without going under the knife?
In our fifites, we dipped into our savings accounts for weddings and those much needed facial treatments. We chatted about hot flashes and night sweats. Our aging parents and our grandchildren.
And now here we are in are sixties, talking about Social Security and Medicare. It seems almost impossible that so many years have passed. Because when I look at these girlfriends, I still see them as teenagers.
What will we be talking about in the future? Well, if we can remember, we’ll probably be reminiscing about the past. About those wonderful days on the beach, listening to music and looking for boys.
But whatever – the good thing is – we will still be talking to each other.
Like I said before. What could possibly be better?
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