The moment I arrive at the entrance to the pool I start sweating. Like every time I’ve been coming back here since that long weekend in July 2009. I’m always amazed and surprised by how much of a physical impact this trip down memory lane has on me. Sometimes I even get dizzy and have to hold on to something.
A lot has changed here since that weekend. Pure isn’t Pure anymore, they renovated it and renamed it to Omnia. The Pussycat Dolls gambling area has been turned into just another nondescript space with slot machines. Since nobody knows of the Pussycat Dolls anymore they aren’t selling any of their merchandise nowadays, either.
A lot has changed in my life as well. I have gotten divorced, then re-married and now have 2 kids, a 3-year old girl and a 1-year old boy. I have moved 3 times, with the last move taking me out of the city of my dreams. I have changed jobs as often.
Sarah seems to have gone through some change herself. She, too, had met someone new, then given birth to 2 kids. And while she de-friended me on Facebook, the occasional public photo she posts leads me to believe that she at the very least has been going through some tough times with the father of her children recently. There is a chance that they have separated as well.
The first time I made my way back to Caesar’s Palace I felt like a criminal making his way back to the scene of his crime. Of course, cheating on your wife is hardly illegal in most places on this planet and thus usually not considered a crime. But I certainly felt very guilty. Guilt, however, hadn’t been the primary motivator for my trip. What triggered it was a combination of being a helpless romantic, melancholy and sentimental tendencies. Additionally, I really miss(ed) Sarah. So since that first return, I always made time to come here when something brought me to Vegas.
The journey would be different every single time. I would take different routes, sometimes just quickly walk here and back and at other times I would stop in certain places and see the past right in front of my eyes. And every time, before making the trip, I would think that this time it would be different; that this time some memories wouldn’t be as vivid as if I were still right in that moment; that this time I wouldn’t miss Sarah as much; and that this time I wouldn’t hope to “coincidentally” run into her.
Being at the entrance of the pool again today, it isn’t any different. I see myself walking to meet her right here the night after we’d been partying until 5 in the morning. I see myself coming out of that same door, Sarah next to me, and then giving her a kiss on the cheek when I say “see you later”. I’m buying chewing gum at the gift store before going out with her later that night. And I’m taking just a few bites out of my salad at dinner despite not having eaten all day. After dinner I’m walking to her room with her.
More than 6 years have passed since that weekend but my memories feel like I’m in the moment still. It seems like I can feel the warmth of her body lying next to me. So much so that I catch myself pulling her closer to me right now.