|The entrance to Libbey Park.|
Do you know how it is when you reunite with a long-time friend and it feels as if you have never been apart? You still feel the weight of all those years without the other in your life. Yet you also feel the closeness you once shared. It’s such a relief to not just talk, but to share the deepest, most personal thoughts and feelings. Suddenly, from your mouth come admissions you would never tell those with whom you work and regularly interact.
In the Six Million Dollar Man story “The Bionic Woman,” written by Kenneth Johnson, that’s the way Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers feel when they reunite in Libbey Park. A connection sparked between them long ago, and time has not extinguished it. They talk about the busyness of their lives, and crow their accomplishments, yet they also feel an aching emptiness. They realize that, despite all they have done—so many mountains climbed, so many goals achieved—they are incredibly lonely. Thus it feels natural, as they walk together, for each to put an arm around the other. Time passes by unnoticed, and suddenly they hear the honking of a car’s horn. They find themselves at the park entrance, and in the street a man steps out of his car. Her ride is here: Jaime has to go.
|"Let me tell you about my accomplishments!"|
As we wandered through Libbey Park, a woman walking her dog noticed our cameras. She stopped and asked, “Are you holidaying this weekend?” We smiled and told her yes. “It is beautiful here, isn’t it?” We had to admit it was. “There’s so much to see in Ojai,” she told us, and after talking a little more, she wished us well, and resumed her walk with her pet. In “The Bionic Woman,” Steve and Jaime’s feet carry them all over town. We don’t see the majority of their walk, or what they see along the way. I suspect that they didn’t notice the surroundings much either, as their eyes, and their hearts, were so focused upon each other.
|"Walk along with me, |
I’m not sure what most of the locals thought as we strolled through the park, taking photographs of what, to them, must have seemed rather ordinary. I’m sure we stood out as visitors: being so close to Los Angeles, the population of Ojai swells on weekends. But we didn’t travel to Ojai solely to relive moments from a TV show. We were also celebrating a special moment in our lives, one that will link us forever. Unlike Steve and Jaime, we didn’t feel the crushing weight of years apart. Instead, we celebrated lives spent together. So, in addition to talking, we also took photographs, so that in the future we could look back and remember how much we enjoyed visiting Libbey Park, and walking in Steve and Jaime’s footsteps.
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