the dream beach-house
dreamy rom com musings ahead
proceed at your own risk.
The longest relationship
I’ve ever had in LA
is the one with my apartment.
Fresh out of college,
I signed my first (and only) lease
in my life to date
And to fate.
Jobs Boyfriends Friends
But living in the heart of Hollywood has been
an unwavering constant.
With that Hollywood sign visible in the distance
on any given day through the hazy smoke and smog
Of millions of people chasing
their heart’s desire
In a city whose greatest unfailing promise
is endless sunshine.
When I first moved to LA,
I actually wanted to live in Santa Monica.
There was something about the palm trees
the perpetual salty beach spray
lingering in the air
against the soundtrack of the crashing waves
that were never too far behind
that felt like quintessential LA.
For my entire first year in LA,
I slept in a sleeping bag
on my bedroom floor.
A single suitcase in a corner.
One table and chair inherited from my sister’s UCLA days.
A bookshelf from the people upstairs who’d moved out
the day I moved in.
I didn’t know how long I’d be staying.
I wanted to be able to leave anytime
for anywhere that I wanted.
To not have to worry about dismantling bedframes
and disposing furniture
Or gingerly tucking items into bubble wrap
Or sealing cardboard boxes with copious masking tape.
If I craved New York nightlife
and those criss-crossing avenues
And knowing that any friends I made would
always be mere subway stops away
even if I wanted to see them at 3 a.m.,
I could live among sturdy brick facades in Manhattan.
If I missed taking my morning tea al fresco
And writing in notebooks until afternoons faded into sunsets
by the loping grassy riverbanks
And the comfortable anonymity of Saturday shopping
amidst the whirl of Piccadilly Circus,
I could go back to England.
If I suddenly wanted to follow the trajectory of every
Nicholas Sparks hardcover
I’d hungrily consumed and buried my nose in from the libraries of
I could even go look for love in North Carolina.
it was during the third year of living in LA that
I started having these recurring dreams
They’d take a different shape each time,
but preserve the same theme.
A few times a month, they’d prod
and seep into my subconscious.
In each dream, I was being forced to move out of my apartment.
And in each dream, I’d protest heavily —
for a multitude of reasons
that my mind was making up
before I could be waking up.
I liked living on the first floor;
why would my roommate want us to move somewhere that required walking upstairs?
I liked being right next to my favorite sushi spot and Trader Joe’s;
why would my mom want me to move away from them?
I liked my giant open living room,
the curtains in my bedroom,
the lack of traffic on our tucked-away street,
the central location
The list went on.
These dreams recurred for years.
And then one year, I was in a relationship where there was
this mutual sense of trust built in
because we were friends beforehand.
(Everyone else in the past has been someone from the
proximity effect like a roommate, neighbor, host brother
from a summer program, or rando who found me on LinkedIn.)
There was this safety and rapport
that felt foreign
And during that time,
I had the dream, but in a different iteration.
Where, instead of protesting all the great things
I would lose from moving out of my
tried and true apartment,
I dreamt that I moved to this beach-house
Completely comprised of expansive floor-to-ceiling windows
The only wood came from the dark beams framing and holding
up the glass
that looked out onto
The waves crashing right outside and
The sun streaming on the sand
And it was bigger
Than anything I’d ever known.
That relationship would eventually disappear
just like the last strains of that dream,
fading far away and out of any tangible reach
But I still remember waking up that morning
That maybe sometimes when we’re so busy
fearing what we stand to lose,
We can’t see
All the good there could be to gain.
Originally published on May 3, 2020.