Christine ❤ Chris

* Winner of Contemporary Coney Love Story *

Coney Island is not just a place,

it has a spirit that lives within

those who have been embraced by its love.

This is not just a story about falling in love with someone. This is a story about falling in love with life and falling in love with myself by having a new perspective, accepting change, having forgiveness, and for the first time…hope.

Before I tell you my love story, I must give you an idea of why my bond with Coney Island is so strong. I grew up in C.I in the 80’s, which we all know was not a place one would recall being an acceptable atmosphere for anyone, let alone a child.

There was much pain in my life then, and I sought solace at the beach. I felt safe there and fell in love with the ocean, the sand and the pier back when the pier was not attached to the boardwalk. You had to walk to shore then climb up an old rickety ladder to get up there.

The sand cradled my feet and welcomed me. The ocean listened to my fears and never judged. Throughout my life, long after I moved away, C.I has always been the place I ran to. To be alone, yet not feel alone. I ran to the beach in any season-rain, snow, or shine.

I love C.I for everything it is, and everything it isnt. Needless to say I suffered great heartache and despair at watching C.I be torn down piece by piece in the current years and replaced witg things I did not recongnize or relate to. How ironic that I felt the same way inside. I did not recognize the person I saw i the mirror and could not relate to my own thoughts or feelings. Despite my deep rooted fear of change…I knew it was time.

The summer of 2010 was unlike any other summer of my life. I let go of so much pain and learned what true forgiveness felt like. It felt like my damaged heart had completely healed and was ready to accept the gift of true love.

I fell in love June 2, 2010 at a crossroad in my life where love was just not part of the plan. Coney Island was the backdrop for this blessing of a love like no other. Its hard to describe a love in words for which there are none. How can I tell you how I feel when he holds my hand when I have nothing to compare it to? All I know is I never imagined I could feel this way for another.

Coney Island was, in a way our escape in the beginning. We were on the beach for the premier of the fireworks display, and we kissed throughout the entire show. I remember flashes of light shining through my closed eyelids and the pressure of each firework explosion in my chest. Something tells me that had there not been an actual firework display, the sensations I just described would have been the same.

We rode the wonder wheel, the sliding car of course. As we reached the top, the ride stalls to let more people on. The car is swinging and we look at each other in a way that told me that he was having the same exact thought I was…”I found you”. I wanted to scream out over C.I, “Do you see this! Im finally happy!” I was overjoyed to be sharing such a precious experience with the very place that has saw me through so many rough times.
How I wished I could have taken him for a ride on the Zipper, then the Hellhole which stood directly across the street. To spin around so fast that when the floor dropped away from our feet we stayed plastered across the wall…and I could tell him that was how I felt whenever we were together.

We spent lazy days at the beach buying coconut and pineapple ices that melted before we could eat them. We layed side by side on our backs and held hand as the sun baked us and sweat dripped off us onto the sheet forming an outline of our bodies. I barely heard the sounds of children laughing and their parents yelling, of people hawking their goods. I only heard the sounds of the waves crashing and of my heart beating. This love feels like I won the most odds against you lottery.

I swam until my arms hurt, leaving my love far behind while reminiscing about how I taught myself how to swim in this ocean so long ago. I returned to the present and swam right into his arms. We stared into each others eyes and made love right there as the ocean current moved us about. The taste of salt water on our lips as we kissed. The ocean belonged to us at that moment, no one else existed.

As I sat down to try and write this story, I kept getting stuck, completely lost for words when it came to the most important experience of this wonderful summer. The moment I knew That my heart would always belong to Chris.

When I was 11 years old my girlfriend and I were the only girls daring enough to jump off the pier into the water and swim back to shore. It was an amazing feeling, so careless and free. I have not seen anyone do it in over 20 years. Imagine my surprise as I stood on the beach with Chris and my daughter Ava and watched as a few people were leaping off the top railing into the water.

There was a couple next to us with a little girl around Ava’s age and they were playing. I walked over and began chatting with them. We were watching people jump and I began telling them of my experiences as a child. I felt the excitment building in my chest.

I did not notice as I was talking to the woman, her husband walk over to the pier. She had, and pointed exitedly at him as he dove into the water. I told her I just had to do it, I had to jump. I walked over to Chris and told him the same. Inside I was nervous and not very sure that I would go through with it. I teased Chris saying that he wouldnt jump. He grabbed my hand and said “lets go”. I asked the woman couple nearby if they could bring my daughter to the shore so she could watch me jump then we headed over to climb up onto the pier.

My heart was beating, I was sweating, I was hoping he would back out. We walk out far enough for the jump to be safe and he climbs up onto the railing. There is a small concrete block that juts out about 5 feet below where us kids used to jump from, and I tell him this. Plus I have no idea how the heck Im going to get up onto the railing without falling, forget jumping. He looks at me with eyes I wish I could describe for you, holds out his hand and insists I will be ok, tht he will jump right along with me.

I managed to climb up and stand beside him on the railing. I took in my surroundings until he counted to 3, then we jumped into the ocean. The adrenaline rush and that first breath of air as your head bursts out of the water is somthing I cannot describe for you. I can tell you that for a moment I was 11 again, nothing in the world mattered at that moment…I could not have been happier.

As we swam to shore, Chris never saw the tears of joys streaming down my face as I swam far ahead of him. I knew then that this love was meant to be. All the pain and fear of the unknown had been removed from my life and because of this I was truly able to accept this gift of a once in a lifetime love.

I doubt Chris knows what an important moment that was. He and I jumping into the ocean together represented many things to me. It represented letting go of fear and how ready and willing my heart was to be devoted to him. To hold his hand throughout this uncertain life had never run away no matter what. It represented having trust for someone, and faith that I would not be let down. It also represented youth, I felt born again and ready to take on the world.

It was on this day that I truly felt like a woman at a place where I grew up as a child.

Because of circumstances that took place in my life just prior to the summer, I was given freedom and hope. I experienced a spiritual awakening by finding forgiveness for someone very special who is no longer with me, and for myself as well.

I was given a second chance in life. Its amazing how life changes when you change. I fall in love each day with Chris, I cant imagine life without him. Ava has quite the crush on him as well, she calls him her charming prince.

For the first time in my life I gave Coney Island a part of me that either never existed, or was buried so deep I did not know it was there. I buried the pain of the past in the sand, and built a castle out of who i have become.

I imagine the next time I am standing on the shore, the waves crashing at my feet will sound like a round of applause.

Watch Lola Star’s Coney Island is for Lovers movie