Thursday, August 12, 2010


by Mike Meraz
I remember waking up, filled with love, and going off to the beach in California to find a sea shell for a girl who lived many miles away. It was a cold morning. I put on my jacket, got into my car and made my way to Huntington Beach.
She was from Texas, a beautiful Latin girl, with pale skin and eyes to make you cry. I got out of my car. It was sprinkling and cold. The air was musty. I wondered if I had picked the wrong day for my excursion. Looking up at the sky, I thought, fuck it, I want to get a sea shell for this girl and don’t want to come back. I put my jacket over my head and made my way out to the shore. There were a few odd joggers. This is the odd thing about California: rain or shine, there is always someone exercising.

Ignoring the joggers, I saw a few sea shells on the floor and picked them up. I wanted the best ones, the prettiest ones, for this girl was the best and prettiest.
After about a half hour, I collected three.
I got back into my car, a little bit wet, a little bit soaked, but I had my sea shells and I was still filled with love. I brought them back to my place, a small place in Paramount where I lived with my empty walls and beer cans.

I placed the sea shells in a manila envelope. I was going to send them the next morning. I also put a little love letter inside as I was trying to win this girl’s heart. I never met her personally but she had told me how much she wanted a sea shell from the beach in California as she was from Texas. I guess they don’t have beaches there.

The next day I sent them off, the shells and my love.
A few weeks later I got a response. She said she received the package, but the shells were cracked. In the mailing process, somehow, the life of the road was too much for these precious shells. Such is love, such is life.
We continued to write, talk and be good friends. The shell experience was a special thing. She had brought out something in me that was missing for a lot of years: that special romantic feeling that you often lose just out of high school. That innocent optimism of love. Goes to show, sometimes the most beautiful girl can crack the most hardened criminal.
Mike Meraz is a poet from Los Angeles who currently lives in New Orleans. He is the author of two books of poetry Black-Listed Poems and All Beautiful Things Travel Alone. Both are available at and He is also the editor of Black-Listed Magazine. One of his favorite words in the English language is caustic. Just say it. It sounds nice.

1 comment:

  1. Sweet story. We all need a little romance from time to time <3