We moved away from the coast in July 2009 and since then have been back to visit Santa Cruz exactly once.
We're going back tomorrow for the long weekend.
I hope there is fog. I hope we find weirdness. I hope we can walk down Pacific Avenue Mall and visit the pizza joint and Bookshop Santa Cruz and glance up to see the bands playing at the Catalyst that we'll never pay money to see.
I hope the traffic on 17 isn't too bad coming through Scotts Valley, although we could just as easily exit at Glenwood and go through Felton. I hope the crepes taste as good as I remember them at that Place on Soquel Avenue. I hope we can get a real good taco.
I hope the surf is up on West Cliff, and the dogs are out in force at the dog beach on the other side of the lighthouse. I hope we can drive past the old house and admire the new paint job and talk with the old neighbors a bit. I hope Ella is still alive, well and kickin' and cursing the new tenants next door to her.
I wish Kathy were still principal of the school where I used to work and willing to give me a job whenever I wanted to ask one. I wish the rent weren't "too damn high." I wish we had a truck so we could bring the surfboards back - they are lonely sitting under the landlocked deck. I wish we could sit out on our old patio with beers and music and hear the sea lions barking at the wharf.
Oh, Santa Cruz. I miss you, and I fear going back to visit. I love where we are now. I love the job and the friends and the frank open-ness about this place. But I do feel The Draw. And we'll get a taste of that tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...
..but not the next day after that.