Linda on the Beach

By Denise Duhamel and Julie Marie Wade

November 30, 2015

Linda on the Beach
We don’t know her, the woman who grins and waves as we wander north along Hollywood sand, bedsheets for yoga class billowing in our hands. But maybe, I think, we do know her from somewhere, and it’s not in our nature to be rude, so we wave, too. Linda is flapping like the lifeguard’s flag. Linda is talking about her lost keys, about her husband in the hospital, about the Marriott that won’t take her back now. We look at each other to acknowledge Linda is crazy, possibly homeless. She tells us, “The real party is here!” 

Then, she twirls, golden in the late afternoon light. Linda is her own ring-around-the-rosy, her own carousel ride past sea grass and coconut palms, shabby stucco motels that still cost more than the contents of her pockets. We say good bye and good luck with everything, wondering if one day our inner Lindas will emerge, our home address a sandcastle flattened by waves, pieces of our personality broken shells. Will everyone look familiar to us then? And will we still smile, still festive somehow, asking nothing from the strangers who might have been friends, who surely had something to spare?
Photo: "Woman on beach looking back" by D. Coetzee, via creative commons license. 
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