empty spaces

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I drove up to Malibu for an audition this afternoon. It’s the first time I’ve been up there since the fires devastated the city, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I mean, I figured the hills would be blackened, but I wasn’t prepared for just how close the destruction actually came to businesses. I knew that over 50 homes had been destroyed, and when I saw the news coverage of it live my heart ached for the people who lost them, but it wasn’t until I saw what was once Castle Kashan that it became real for me.

I know that sounds incredibly insensitive, but I don’t mean to minimize in any way the very real losses so many people suffered. What I mean is, watching it on television it became an abstract montage of tragedy after tragedy, but seeing with my own eyes the empty space where Castle Kashan used to be made it more personal.

When I was a kid, my dad surfed in Malibu all the time, so we drove over Malibu or Topanga or Kanan-Dume at least once a week. When they were old enough to know what was going on, my brother and sister and I would play two games: first to see the ocean, and first to see the castle. Now, it’s gone, and with it goes a touchstone from my childhood. Again, I know that pales in comparison to the massive losses of homes and businesses, and I’m grateful that this picture represents the only “loss” I personally have from the fire.

It was grey and starting to rain when I drove away from my audition today, and I noticed a lot of traffic as I waited to make my turn back onto PCH to come home. There were a lot of residents shopping, eating, and walking from one place to another. It was good to see that, though they were surrounded by tragedy and destruction, they were going on with their lives. I hope the people who lost their homes are able to do the same.

The men who are charged with starting the Corral fire were supposed to be arraigned today, but it’s been put off until February 14th. I hope they get a fair trial. If they’re convicted, I hope they’re held accountable for their actions.