In September, I took my mother to a beach in Malibu. The water was too cold for swimming, so we sat on our blankets and watched the waves crash. We were alone on the beach with the exception of a shirtless man and his dog. The dog ran to us and the man followed. My mother played with the dog, some kind of poodle, and the man spoke. It was his girlfriend's dog, he told us. He worked in real estate. The market was bad. He lived up the street. His name was Tony.
He was closer in age to my mother, and I think she was happy that Tony was talking to us. She was smiling a lot and her New York accent became thicker as it does when she wants people to ask where she is from.
"Do you like the beach?" Tony asked, looking at me.
I told him I did.
"You should come back to Malibu sometime and we can go together. What's your number?"
He caught me off guard. The sun was directly overhead and his girlfriend's dog was panting and I was wearing a bathing suit. I could hear my mother breathing next to me and I may have taken a pill that morning that made me a little kinder, more tolerant. I take these pills when I spend time with my mother. The numbers fell from my mouth.
Malibu Tony calls once a month. That's his name in my phone so I know not to answer. This was his message this morning, verbatim:
"Hey Meghan. This is Tony in Malibu. Remember we met last September when you were on the beach? And, um, it's Wednesday, March 16th, and I just want to know what's new. I thought we were gonna maybe get together, have a nice time. I know you like the beach and I like the beach too. Well, anyway, I hope you'll give me a call. Maybe if you come out to the beach, we can get dinner or something like that. Or lunch. And we'll have a nice time. Thanks a lot. Bye."