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Welcome to Avalon

The misconception of ordered tranquility, that was Avalon. Ten tidy residential blocks, some meandering mountainside neighborhoods, and a calm harbor all worked together to convince tourists that paradise existed just off the California coast. I came with them in the summer of 1991. By then I was eleven-going-on-twelve, and I knew paradise was real. It was the place Dad had chosen over me, and I wanted to see it for myself.
           When I scuttled off the Catalina Express, I spied Dad searching the throng for me. He was wearing flowered boardshorts and a once-white t-shirt instead of the khakis and polo shirt I’d always remembered. He sported a flat-top instead of his regular brown floppy hair. I hadn’t seen him since the divorce three years before, and had to convince my feet to walk toward him. He didn’t put his arm around me, only smiled and took my backpack, tossed it into the milk crate strapped to the back of his golf cart. “Let me give you the grand tour,” he said. He gassed…

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