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Marina Park

 

by Savannah Moore

        

                                                                                        

1400 Monarch Bay Dr, San Leandro, CA 94577

 

Marina Park is our local park. It's where you throw birthday parties, baby showers, barbeques, going away parties, and so much more. It's not only a park but it's also a workout area. It's located right by the ocean so when you're on the workout track and you're running or walking a mile you're overlooking the ocean as well. As long as I've lived in the area, I can't say that the Marina has ever had much sentimental value to me, at least not until I met Khalid.

In January 2020, when I was fourteen, I started looking for a job. I knew that I wanted to work with kids so my mom suggested that I go and take a look at the youth development program up the street from our house. At the time they weren't looking for school-year interns, but they were preparing to start orientation for summer interns. A little while after Covid hit us, the program was put on pause until they could figure out how to continue on. We started up again in late June, but because of Covid I didn't make many friends, not until I became a school-year intern.

It was in August 2020 that I met Kalid. He and I had an instant connection (a "gravitational pull" is what he described it as later on). We worked together and were friends outside of work so our relationship transpired quickly. Despite us having a friend group that we made through work, by the end of October we were hanging out solo. Our relationship had always reminded me of a cliché rom-com movie. We started out as friends, and from there became best friends. At least that's what we would call it even though we both felt differently. One day after we finished what we had planned, we decided to go to the park. It was December so it was getting dark at around 5pm. We walked around the trail until we found a little park bench that sits in front of the rocks and overlooks the water.

 

It was dark out so all we could see was each other and the moonlight reflecting off the water. We just laid on the bench, ignoring missed calls from our parents, friends asking where we were. We stayed there talking, and I rubbed my hands through his hair, something that I learned he liked early on. When we were there, it felt both like no time and so much time passed us by. After that night, we made the bench our spot. Anytime we went to the park or just wanted to hang out we always sat at that bench. We shared so many memories there. We shared our first kiss there, talked and laughed, ate snacks. That bench was not just concrete and sandstone, the bench was us.

 

Khalid and I started dating in July 2021. He was an amazing boyfriend, exactly what I had always wanted my boyfriend to be. Above all, he really loved me. He loved me the way that you see in movies. I was the first girl he ever truly loved, so he made mistakes along the way but none of that bothered me too much because I loved him just the same.

 

A couple months after our one-year anniversary, we started to fight a lot. We fought all day, everyday, always about the same things. It was just an endless cycle of nothingness. By January of 2023, we finally accepted the fact that as much as we loved each other, we weren't making it out. We're not endgame like we thought. Truth told when we finally broke up, I was actually relieved. The constant fighting, loss of appetite, and no sleep drained me. I didn't have to mourn much after the breakup. I let go of our favorite songs pretty quickly. But no matter how much time passes, whenever I see the park bench I can't help but stop and stare. That bench is the one thing I can't push away. When I see it, I can't block the memories, can't forget what it means to me and who I shared it with. A spot that used to mean so much to me is now haunted. It reminds me of a person that I used to love who is no longer here, it reminds me of a person I used to be as well.

That bench is my least favorite place on Earth, because no matter how much time passes, no matter how different Khalid or myself become, no matter how much time pulls us apart and breaks down our memories, whenever I see that bench it's as if I'm standing there beside my fifteen-year-old self, watching her fall in love over and over again.

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Savannah Moore is a freshman psychology major from Oakland. California. She's been writing since the 4th grade.

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