My mind was racing today as I sat in my very first class of the semester. The history of jazz music is important and all, but I couldn’t seem to put an end to the daydreams my mind kept spiraling and projecting for the entire 50 minutes of the class on most any other possible thing imaginable in the world except for jazz. I didn’t know if it was because it was still early, or the drone of the teacher’s voice was so thrilling to the point where it kept putting me to sleep, or if I simply had no desire to learn jazz as to why I didn’t put an end to the illusions I had created. Or maybe it was simply because I didn’t want to stop them. I’ll chalk it up to that. And, okay, I’m lying. I really was only thinking about one thing—holiday break.
It was bittersweet to leave the island on Sunday. I decided to take the scenic route out of town and exit via Rio Grande Ave in Wildwood, after leaving my house in the North and making my way down to the Crest to say goodbye to my brother, before swooping back around to stop at WaWa and go over the bridge. I took Atlantic Ave down past the post office and made a left when I saw Mariner’s Landing Pier on the corner. I stole a peak at the rides and the ferris wheel and all the shut down carnival games when I passed by. I wanted to take the road nearest to the beach so I could get a fresh image of the sand and the water in my mind as I passed all the big hotels shut down for the winter and the big Wildwood letters and beach balls that decorate the walkway by the convention center. The whole area was vacant and deserted, even. But I still loved seeing it all the same.
It didn’t hit me until I was on my way over the bridge that I probably wouldn’t be back until everything in town reopened again, and people would finally start flocking to the island in enormous quantities. It wouldn’t be until summer.
So today my daydreams fluctuated back and forth between winter break and the summer break coming up in the next few months. I thought about home and all the people I spent break with who I now left behind, and I thought about the places we went and the things we did. The image of the boardwalk kept popping up in my head—how deserted it had been when I tried to go for a run the last day I was home and the last time I looked at it when I rode out of town. Then I really thought about how deserted pretty much everything was the whole time I was there. It was cold, so cold to the point where nobody could bear to be outside with the snow and the wind. It looked sad.
I quickly turned the negative into a positive and thought about summer. I pictured my route out of town—the boardwalk, the beach and WaWa. I pictured the weather being hot, the sun shining down over the ocean, as people sat under colorful umbrellas on the beach by the piers, with the screams of people riding the rollercoaster in the background. I pictured the ferris wheel illuminating in arrays of neon colors, and I pictured weaving in and out of people walking along the boards when I took my run. I pictured people gathered on the balconies of the shut down hotels when they reopen for the new tourist season. I pictured waiting in the gas line at WaWa for twenty minutes because the parking lot is jam-packed with cars and people walking everywhere. I pictured restaurants with lines out the door during primetime dinner hours. I pictured outdoor barbeques and swim sessions, and I pictured Fourth of July fireworks. I pictured life back on the island. I pictured people leaving their houses to walk and bike ride and enjoy the nice weather. I pictured people. And I pictured myself coming back over the bridge, entering the island to join them.