sometimes the sheer force of this world brings out some of the best and worst emotions in me. it happened a few nights ago. i was going out to dinner with my family for an early birthday dinner for my sister. she's turning 17 on the 6th, but i'll be back at school and most likely unable to go back home to visit. so we celebrated early.
she decided she wanted to try this little italian place not too far from our house. i, of course, was thrilled, italian being my favorite food an all.
what was different, special even, about this place, however, wasn't it's reputation for amazing food, exceptional service, or charming atmosphere. it was it's location.
let me try to paint you all a picture of the town next to mine. i'm from the jersey shore, so right next to my hometown is one amazing beach town. it's a town that i have grown up in. it's lined with little beachside cafes, bars, and beach clubs. one of which my family belonged to since i was born. (thats 19 years). that particular beach club is where i learned how to swim and had my 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th birthday parties (until i wanted to have a party like the cool kids have at a bowling league or pottery place... if only i could go back and change that). it's where i spent the fourth of july every year, where i learned how to surf, and where i ate ice cream every afternoon at exactly 3 pm. it's even the place where i had my first kiss. sprinkled in between the clubs are a few public beaches. one of which i worked at for the past three summers. the place where i learned how to stand up for myself and where i met people who changed my life (more on that another day..). needless to say, this town isn't just any town. it was my entire childhood and young adult life.
this little italian place, where we celebrated my sisters birthday a few nights ago, is on the top floor of one of these beach clubs. this particular beach club is one of the last ones in a long row. to get there, we had to drive through the entire town.
for new readers, and some old ones, you may or may not know that this particular town, the town that holds some of my favorite memories and stories from my childhood, was almost completely destroyed when hurricane sandy hit in october. that beach club that i spent ever summer? gone. the little cafes i walked to on my lunch break at work? washed out. the little hut us guards had that housed an old couch and tv, that was so ancient we used to joke that we would have a hurricane and it would still be standing for us each summer? it was like it never existed.
so on our drive through this town a few nights ago, i wasn't surprised at the damage. i had seen it already. in pictures and in person. i was used to the boarded up windows, mounds of rotten wood, and construction trucks that lined the street.
but when i walked up the two stories to where we would have dinner, i was simply in awe. not only because this place, on the second floor of the beach club, looked as if it had been untouched by sandy. but because, when i looked out onto the ocean which was our view for the evening, it was flat and calm. the moon glistened in it and the gentle crashing of the waves filled the dining room. it was like it was a completely different ocean then the one that destroyed homes and lives and towns.
and, to be honest, it kind of took my breathe away. that this body of water had so many different personalities to it.
i also kind of find it fascinating that something so incredibly terrorizing could be so calming at the same time. mother nature truly is like a person, with different facets and personalities that will constantly surprise you.
picture of one of the local bars in the beachside town.