"I can't say I was surprised." - The Thrills, Santa Cruz (You're Not That Far)
When I first started visiting Santa Cruz, 15 or so years ago, Pink Godzilla Sushi was the favorite restaurant of my local friends. It was a popular spot that was loud, had a wait on the weekends, and had an energy that was infectious.
And the food was good.
We returned to Santa Cruz over this weekend. I hadn't been in maybe 7 years. Pink Godzilla was a shell of what it once was. At 8:45 on a Saturday night, one other family shared the restaurant with us. A couple tiny flies flittered slowly around our table. The staff seemed unhappy to see us and rushed us out the door. We checked the yelp reviews and saw that the restaurant had severely declined over the last year or two. We had ordered some familiar items but didn't really eat.
There was no love in the food. Only sadness.
It was a reminder that things fall apart especially if you don't cultivate and care for them. No matter the history, it's about how you're treating something right now.
I was in the chilly coastal city with friends I've had for most of my life. We hadn't intended for this to be an old school crew kinda weekend but it ended up being that way. We didn't realize it was something we needed.
Our friendship isn't dilapidated like the walls of Pink Godzilla but that doesn't mean we couldn't put on a fresh coat of paint. Our brushes were cocktails and laughter and conversation. We put up new memories on the walls. There were little moments of magic and a recognition of what's past and what's to come and quiet assurance that we're still here for each other.
We've been through some things together. Real shit, as we might say. And more is on the horizon. Hell, more is happening right now.
And we won't let what we have meet the same fate as the sushi bar that has nothing left for us but fond memories of a time long past.