I buried my mother on December 11th 1972 I saw all the relatives, cousins, aunts, uncles etc. etc. They all asked me what had I been doin where was I living bla bla bla bla. I really didn’t have anything good to say about myself and so I just sort of faded out of site got into my truck and went back to the shack. I finally got back to my little house on Hillrose street and when I went inside I was shocked! While I was at the funeral someone had taken ketchup and squirted it all over the walls, the bed, the floors everywhere. It looked like blood. I had no idea who did it or why and to this day I don’t know for sure but I have a pretty good idea. That night after I cleaned up the bloody mess I got really fucked up on pills, pot and booze and passed out. The next day I really felt like shit I was really getting tired of taking downers so I decided to clean up, not completely but just stop taking the pills. I was getting strung out and I knew it so I stopped, plain and simple. I kept on smoking pot and drinking my wine but the pills were out. No mas! Sometimes people would stop by and want to hang out but I told them I wanted to be alone. My mothers death was the perfect excuse to keep people away. I was able to have some privacy, reflect and do some serious soul searching.
Christmas came and went uneventfully. I didn’t go anywhere. I stayed home with my good neighbor Kathy. We had some wine and pot and she brought over some ham, sweet potatoes, and stuffing. We fucked. It was a cold, grey, cozy day, I liked it. By the time New Years Eve was here I was feeling alot better. I had been off the pills for a couple weeks and I noticed a marked improvement in my energy level I wanted to do stuff. I wanted to go surfing! For the first time in about a month I decided to throw my board into the back of my truck grab my wetsuit and a towel and head for County Line beach just north of Leo Carrillo. It was winter I didn’t know if there was a swell or not, “this was before internet surf checks” You didn’t know until you got there what the surf was going to be like. That was the reward of going. I knew that County Line broke good in the winter, picking up northwest swells off the top of the reef. When I hit the coast coming out of Kanan Road onto Pacific Coast Highway I saw lines of swell combing the coast and the surface conditions were glassy smooth. As I headed north towards County Line I knew it was going to be really good and I was right! The conditions were perfect the tide was a 1.2 low coming up to about a 3.7 high tide so kinda medium all day. Surface was smooth. Swell 4 to 6 foot and a little inconsistant but there were three to four waves in a set with excellent shape with a relatively lite crowd. I coudn’t get suited up fast enough.
My conditioning was a little weak at first but after about a half hour of paddling I was back to my old self. It’s amazing how fast you bounce back when your young. I had one of the best days ever surfing that day and no one was with me to share it. The day was all mine. Late that afternoon when the winter sun started going down into the blue Pacific I climbed back into my 48 and drove back to Tujunga exhausted and stoked beyond belief.
When I got home I took a hot shower, put some clean clothes on and had an Ultimate Cheesburger and fries that I picked up from Jack In The Box. Then the phone rang it was a girl I knew named Susan, she called to let me know that there was a New Years Eve party on Pinewood Ave. I told her thanks and said I might show up for a little while since Pinewood was only three blocks away. I kicked back smoked a little weed and reflected on my day surfing, nobody in this town had a clue about how spiritual and good for the soul surfing can be. But I did and I liked it that way.
I decided I would walk down to the party on Pinewood and check it out, if it was dead I’d come back home and chill. When I got close to the house I was having a faux deja vu. I’ve been to this house once before. “Oh yeah this is where I met my ex girlfriend Debbie.” “Wow what a trip” I thought to myself “Wouldn’t that be weird if I saw her here again” I thought. You see Debbie had been completely out of my life for about 18 months. Isn’t it strange how you can be really super close to someone and then when you break up you never even see or bump into them. Even if you live in the same town.
I walked up the driveway to this California bungalow and onto the large covered front porch the stereo was playing Crosby Stills and Nash “4+20” I chatted with a few high school mates I hadn’t seen for awhile then walked into the house and got myself a red plastic cup to fill with some keg beer in the kitchen. I got a little spooked when I saw some friends of Debbies that I knew when we were dating, I said “hi” but they didn’t acknowledge me at all, fuckin bitches. I went back into the dimly lit living room and then I saw it! The bean bag chair! The same bean bag chair that I had sat in with my first love. It was scrunched up in an unrecognizable ball stuffed behind a door. I grabbed it and shook it into shape and placed it in the same corner that my girl and I sat in almost three years ago. I sat down in it. It was all just starting to get really, really strange when suddenly Debbie walked in the front door. Boy was I surprised to say the least. I was glad she didn’t see me. She was with another girl but no boyfriend. I watched her walk across the living room to the brightly lit kitchen she looked awesome. Her thick wavey long blond hair was pulled back into a loose french braid with a flower stuck in the back. I still wanted her. “God didn’t we make a good looking couple?”
For about an hour I just looked from the shadows. I had nothing to offer. I had quit high school, she graduated. I was a flunky, stoner, loser. But I surfed. Yes I surfed. I had one of my best days surfing that afternoon. I thought of my day alone at County Line and it brought a big smile to my face! I got bold just before I left the party and walked into the kitchen where she was at, she saw me and looked surprised as she awkwardly blurted out “Hi how are you?” “Good” I said “Real good” “You look like you’ve got some sun” she added “Yeah I went surfing today” “How was it” she asked “Fun” I said “Good, I’m glad you had a good time.” It was then that she along with some other girls went out to the back yard to do whatever. That was the last time I ever saw her again.
It was early and I wasn’t even high, I didn’t even smoke the genuine Tai Stick I brought with me. Remember those little pinners that got you sooo ripped? So I decided to go home and get a good nights sleep. Then as I started walking down the driveway the sky opened up and it started raining. It was then that I had my epiphany. “Keith why are you here in this town?” “Who are your friends?” “Where are you going?” What is here for you?” “There’s no one to love” “What did that ketchup all over your house mean?” “You need to get out RIGHT NOW!” Happy New Year!