Welcome to paradise! A pair of inhabitants accompany you by the names of Karl and Marisa Anderson. The setting: In and around Los Angeles, California. What you’re about to witness is a story of love and determination. One that could only exist in a perfect dimension.

August 18th, the first day I saw her. I’ll never forget her hair, flowing in the wind desperate to be seen. Her eyes stopping my heart when she happened to look my way, everything about her enchanted me and all I wanted was more. I had to talk to her, the acknowledgment alone of this beautiful woman would’ve made my year so that’s exactly what I set out to do. My voice trembled as I approached her, my legs aching, my stomach in knots, all of me wanted to shut down but my intrigue persisted. I gave in and as she turned around to look at me, my heart dropped. I knew she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen and I told her so. She blushed a little and thanked me with the most cute, innocent tone I’ve ever heard.

October 17th, Universal Studios Hollywood. Horror nights in full bloom as I saw her walking towards me. Her smile I will never forget, as well as my red cheeks. We held hands as we looked up at the enormous Universal entrance gate. Our first date but I knew it wouldn’t be our last, the night was  ours and only ours. It was a night full of scares, laughs, and adrenaline but most of all liberating. I knew after this night that I wanted a million more of them with her. That’s when I knew I wanted to see her smile sunrise to sunset until the end of time.

December 24th, All I wanted for Christmas is her. I know how cheesy that sounds but it reigned true. I spent months deciding on what to get her. Searched every shop, clicked on every website, glanced at every vendor but alas a lightbulb brightened above me. I wrote her a poem accompanied by a story of us together on that night. I could still picture her face after looking back up at me. Her cheeks turned rosy and a crooked smile forced its way on her mouth. She ran over to me and hugged me as hard as she could, at that point life felt infinite. Her look went from flattered to excited as she handed me my gift. As I opened the box, I was greeted with a Crosley record player like the one my mom used to have. Taped on the back of the box was a Frank Sinatra album that included my mom’s favorite song, “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You.”

December 31st: The infamous ball drop, The Dick Clark’s New Years special, and our kiss will forever stand the test of time on that night. One full of hope, love, and safety made us so excited what the new year had for us. I tear up thinking about how happy we were that night, it was only a preview of what was to come.

February 2nd: Your birthday. Fun fact, also Groundhog Day. I surprised you with a trip to the Santa Monica Pier at sunset, we ate at Bubba Gump overlooking the beautiful beach and the thousands of people having the time of their lives. As you finished your delectable looking raspberry cheesecake, I pulled out a square box from my back pocket and fell to a knee. Your face morphed from a confused one to an elated one as you said the word I had been dying to hear the moment I saw you. Time stood still and it felt as if every one of those eyes down below were looking at us. I know you and I know you wish they weren’t looking but I hope they were because everyone deserved to see how beautiful you were that night.  

July 26th: My birthday. I will never be able to thank you enough for how you made me feel that night. Tickets to the Dodger game I desperately wanted to go to, my favorite meal (teriyaki chicken with soba noodles) that you learned how to cook for tonight, and the best head of my life. It was a day that if I ever forget, I’d rather not have any more.

August 18th: Remember this date, baby? Of course you do, I just love rhetorical questions. I could already see you rolling your eyes and a half-grin making its way on your face. It’s fitting that today, we declare our love for one another. My heart’s beating out of my chest thinking about it and I love every second of it. I know I wasn’t supposed to see you in your dress but I had to take a peak. Tears ran down my cheeks, I couldn’t believe you were mine. You looked like an angel and I wondered why I was so lucky. I hurried back to my dressing area and changed into my tuxedo that you helped me pick. Before I knew it, I was at the end of the aisle waiting for my jaw to drop as you came walking towards me. I saw everyone’s head turn and I frantically looked in the same direction. I know I play fast and loose with the term “time stood still” but if it didn’t at this moment, I don’t what else it could be used for. As you came walking down the aisle and I heard lots and lots of tears hitting the pavement, I whispered to myself, “I love you Marisa.”

Lots and lots of tears hit the pavement today as The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica had its first ever causality. Karl Anderson, a mid-thirties writer, was found dead of an opioid overdose in the balcony of floor 924 which overlooks the Santa Monica Pier. As police raided the room in question, they found an iPhone that presumably belonged to Mr. Anderson opened to an Instagram post of a newly married middle aged woman dining along the pier. Also recovered was a black journal with numerous entries starting with August 18th.

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