Laurel Blossom

Issue #
February 3, 2014

Mansion on the Beach

All that’s left of Marion Davies’ mansion on the beach is the beach, the ocean, and the
swimming pool. The City has made the property public, so that for a reservation and a
modest fee, people can spend the day there. When the whole thing was new, the ocean
came up very nearly to the door of the beautiful, separate guest house. Now the water is
half a mile away across the sand. How did that happen, and does it mean the ocean
somewhere else has swallowed up half a mile of coastline? Some people say so. Some
people think the ocean is like a blanket. If one person pulls more of it over to his side of
the bed, the other person lies there freezing.


We spent most of the day in Marion Davies’ pool. You had just learned to put your head
underwater, kick, kick, come up for breath, push the long hair every time away from your
goggles, little pink fish-eyes, talking, instructing. The pool was tiled with waves and little
fishes, sea horses, gold. I loved you. It was like watching you in the womb. Let’s blow
bubbles underwater, clap hands underwater, touch the walls with our feet, touch the
bottom with our bottoms, swim to the ladder, you stay there, Granty, let me swim to you,
closer, swim to you farther, swim to you, closer and better and farther and farther, until
you are, sweetheart, that fast, grown and gone.


Then we went to the beach in front of the guest house. You said the waves were quiet
because they were tired from working so hard all night. Your brother said he wanted to
go in the deep end. My son-in-law doesn’t know who Marion Davies was.

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