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Lost in Havoc

By @gurlcynical

9// heights and pictures

“Hey, wake up!” I felt a tap on my cheek. I cracked my eyes open and squinted as the daylight hit my face. Above me, I saw Erin’s Asian features against the daylight. 

“We’ve got places to go,” she told me and stood up to go to the kitchen and took a bite of a sandwich Kayden was making.

Despite having five enormous bedrooms in our temporary place, we all fell asleep by the living room, must have been too dizzy to get upstairs after we drank a few beers we found by the refrigerator.

I stood myself up from my position, but instantly fell again when I felt a throbbing sensation in my head as if someone was hammering it. Judging by the pain in my head, I must have miscalculated when I said we had few beers because if we only had a few, I wouldn’t be in pain right now.

Nevertheless, this throbbing sensation was not new to me. I’ve had my moments before, where I drank so much trying to drown my sadness and grief that when I got home, the other day my mom greeted me the loudest and powerful slap in the face. I hated her for that, but can’t blame her for getting her worried.

I heard Luna groaned, “****. My head hurts. Must have drunk too much.” She said in her groggy voice as she puts a hand on her temple. William walked to her and gave her some water, shaking his head disappointingly.

“Move your ass up, ladies. We don’t have all the time in the world.” Kayden said, and I realized that only me and Luna were the last ones left snoozing at the couch. “Get yourselves washed up, it’s time to hit the road.” Kayden continued.

Luna stood up. “What are you, Kayden, our dad?” she said, getting out of the living room.

“Hey, William! Which one is better? This one or this one?” I looked up to the second floor and saw Nico half-naked, holding a black shirt and a white shirt. I looked around and noticed that the others were dressed up decently compared to last night. William chose the white ones.

“So now we will steal clothes?” I asked around the living room.

“We have a long way to go. We need to gear up. Now take a bath and look for something to wear among the rooms upstairs,” Kayden said, as if he was the head of the family.

I took a bath, and I put on some mom shorts and a black shirt I found in among the rooms to which I tied a knot in front and sunglasses and stuff some clothes on my duffel bag.

Turns out Kayden indeed is like the head among us. He was the oldest among us turning 21 this November and an Italian man as for what Nico had mentioned a while ago when he was annoying me with what socks he should wear and turned he didn’t wear anyone. Dumb guy.

While William and Kayden were doing some last check inside the beach house, the rest of us waited outside by the car. Me, leaning on the passenger’s seat door eating the sandwich Kayden made, Luna who was snoring and sleeping at the back of the car together with Erin who was playing with her phone and beside me were Damien and Nico, laughing and hissing at each other, watching something on the phone.

I am feeling the pain in my head again and the noises I am hearing from the two is making it worse.

“Oh my God, you two are annoying me. What the hell are you two watching there?” I snatched the phone from them, annoyed.

When I look at the phone, the first thing you will see popping out is my blue hair, standing at the counter by the kitchen, with a shoe in my hand as a microphone rapping freestyle with drunk Luna my only audience doing beatbox that was out of beat, whilst the others are watching and laughing.

Yow, my name is Ellie Blythe, a girl from Palm Valley High, tonight I’m in this house and I’ll bring you all the way down!!” My voice echoed from the cellphone as the two laughed so hard.

Embarrassed, I gave myself a facepalm and since the cellphone was in my hand, I was about to hit delete when Nico snatched the phone from me, “Hey, you ain’t deleting anything.” he complained to me.

“I need a phone,” I told him

“And why is that?” And instantly I remembered I don’t have any cellphone with me since it got dipped at the lake when Ace pushed me. My mom will fetch me today at the campsite. I need to call her if I don’t want to be slapped again with his legendary palms when I get back from this trip.

“Gotta call my mom. My cell phone got broke.” I said to him.

“Then use Luna’s” He answered, sticking out his tongue as he walked around the car and hopped into the driver’s seat.

I let out a sigh and borrowed Luna’s phone from Erin. It went straight to voicemail.

“Hey mom, it’s Ellie. Don’t fetch me at the campsite today. I won’t be there. I’ll be out for a meanwhile. I am going to be okay; I promise. See you soon.”

I gave back the phone to Erin and William together with Kayden exited the house.

“Y’all ready to hit the road?” Kayden asked.


By quarter to twelve, the car was still on the road with Nico at the steering wheel and me in the passenger’s seat.

According to the GPS, we still have twenty minutes before we reach Santa Monica Pier and looking at the traffic, there is no way we will make it there in twenty minutes.

No one utters a word inside the car, only the ocean and the cars honking with impatience are heard along the road and made Luna woke up from her sleep.

I put on the sunglasses I took, or should I say stole, to shield my eyes from the blinding light of the sun, put my hair in a bun and looked outside to the oceans.

In my peripheral vision I saw Nico fidgeting from time to time, “Is it just me or the sounds of the waves coming from the ocean is becoming too tiring to hear?” he asked inside the car, yet no one uttered any words, too busy looking out the window.

With that, Nico turned on the radio and Hotel Apache’s song started blasting at the stereo, and one by one we all moved our heads with the beat, others stomping their feet softly, humming the beat, and Nico strumming his fingers on the steering wheel.

Just in time, the traffic became light, and the car was on the move again. I extended my arms outside the window, feeling the wind brush against my skin as Hotel Apache continued singing.

The car finally turned left on Ocean Avenue and we find ourselves at the Beach Level Parking filled with cars and vans. Nico parked the VW car together with the other cars and turned off the engine.

“Erin, you’ve got to see this.” Damien popped out between Nico and I but before Erin could hear what he said, we already heard the door at the back slammed shut. Erin and Luna were already outside.

The rest of us hopped outside, and abruptly, the strong wind hit every inch of our skin. From where we were standing, we can already discern the crammed people by the pier. And as we get nearer by the stairs that leads to the pier, the mixing sounds of musical instruments, music, and screams of people were becoming louder.

Erin and Damien were the first to run on the pier as soon as we got to the staircase. We followed them as they rushed to the first food cart they saw on the pier.

We had not yet eaten any decent lunch hence, some of us were hungry. So, Luna, together with William, went to Mariasol to get themselves some Mexican cuisine, and Kayden, who we found out was fond of Mexican foods, became ecstatic, and came along with them. Since Nico and I were still not hungry, we stayed with Erin and Damien, who were too busy with the food carts they were seeing.

“Woo! Mexican!” I overheard Kayden’s scream and a few people looked in the direction where they were walking. Luna hissed at him while William laughed. From the place where I am standing, I saw Luna yank Kayden by his nape, covering his mouth with her other hand, probably preventing him from screaming again, and dragged him all the way to Mariasol.

Nico and I followed the enraptured Erin, and Damien as they ran from here to there. I abruptly stopped walking when we passed by the Burger Pier. It was the restaurant where my dad and I ate when we got here.

I must have been standing for too long when Nico came running beside, “Hey, I thought I lost you,” he said and I ignored him, “What? You want to go eat there?”

“What? No.”Because I know that when I stepped inside that restaurant, all I will remember was my dad ended up dead after we ate a burger at Burger Pier.

“Maybe, next time,” I continued, because maybe the next time I come to this place again – just ‘like what Charlotte said- I have already moved on and let go of my past and when I stepped on that restaurant, all I will remember are the happy moments my dad and I shared there and not the heartbreaking ones.

“Huh, so we’re starting at the end. Interesting.” Nico said out of nowhere. I looked at him and switched my gaze to where he was looking.

It was the Route 66 End of the Trail Sign.

It was my second time being here and I have never noticed such a clever observation.

“That’s clever, Nico. Considering I know you as some stupid bully when we were kids.” he laughed.

“Maybe because I am not stupid at all,” he said, handing me a bottled drink.

I took it from him, and my insides freshen up as soon the cold liquid entered my mouth. I looked at the end trail sign again.

Guess every ending has a new beginning.


Erin, Damien, and I sat at one table near the Pacific Park where other tables were occupied by an ocean of people eating food from the surrounding stalls.

We waited for Nico, who was the one who decided what we should eat since, despite the many food stalls at the pier, we can’t think of anything to fill our stomach as we hear the screams of people coming from the Pacific Park rides.

A few moments later, I caught sight of Nico holding Japadogs and realized that among all the surrounding stalls around us; we ate something from a food stand, and surprisingly it was satisfying and delicious.

When we finished eating our Japadogs, Nico texted Kayden to meet us there. As soon as the three reached our table, we entered the Pacific Park.


Since most of our group were boys, the first thing we ended up playing in the Pier was basketball, of course, and the ones who get the lowest score will give five dollars to the one with the highest score. And being the most unathletic among the rest, I lost almost thirty dollars of my pocket money to William and Nico.

“You all suck! And this game sucks!” Luna groaned.

“I know! Want to get some churros?” Erin suggested, and so the three of us treat ourselves some delectable churros.

When the boys finally had enough of basketball, we rode the Pacific Wheel, the world’s first solar-powered Ferris Wheel. And being the brave heart, she is, Luna who was afraid of heights rode it too. Nico and Kayden, together with Erin and Damien, were on the same ride, whilst the three of us were together.

As the Ferris Wheel revolves slowly and takes us higher, the more the people below us were becoming smaller and William’s laugh becomes louder as he takes a video of Luna whose face was running out of color and chanting in gibberish. The others who were just next to us must have seen Luna’s face as I heard their laughs too.

Our ride reached the highest point that when you look up, it’s as if you can already touch the clear blue sky above. From there, you can see how immeasurable the ocean was. Luna suddenly calmed down and looked at the view she was seeing from above.

“Oh. Considering how dangerous our place is right now, this view is beautiful and breathtaking,” she stuttered.

From there, I realized that taking a risk to face the fear you have been always running from for a very long time is also the thing that will enable you to see how beautiful the things around you are. And that, sometimes, in danger, is where you can find yourself at the highest point of your life.

After we rode at the Pacific Wheel, we rode the Sea Dragon ride that sways at one hundred and eighty-degree arc. Right after I, Luna and Erin find ourselves outside the comfort room as the four guys puke themselves inside.

Seeing the dreadful faces of the four, we played at the Arcade Playland and take some photos at the photo booth.

By four o’clock in the afternoon, we finally had enough of the rides and games and left the bustling pier to lie on the white sand of Santa Monica State Beach.

As we loosen up some tension and adrenaline from the rides and games, I looked at the picture we had taken at the photo booth in the Playland Arcade and smiled at the silly faces printed on the paper.

I took out my wallet and saw a picture of my mom, dad, and me during my sixteenth birthday. It was a silly picture too. Both of them were laughing in the picture whilst I have a frowned face because they put icing on both my cheeks. I smiled at the memory and put both the pictures in my back pocket.

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

But then, though I can write more than a thousand words, I can never put such a thing into writing, for a picture’s worth is much more than words.

Pictures are also worthy of a thousand feelings, and feelings need not be words that can be written because it is an intangible and unexplainable thing that reminds that you are alive and living and a picture is the ones that make such an intangible thing a tangible one.

And that’s what makes a picture the most valuable paper you can have with you because despite its light materials, it carries a substantial memory that will remind you how beautiful and worth living life is, because that memory a picture holds can make you feel things, and by feeling things is an enough reminder for you-you are alive and must go on with life.

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  1. Kyla Baxter

    Sep 9, 2021

    I love this!!! It is fabulous!! Great writing!!

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    1 Reply Sep 9, 2021
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    1. gurlcynical

      Oct 10, 2021

      OMG thank you so muchh!! <3

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      0 Replies Oct 10, 2021
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