B r a d  R o s e

Echo and the Bunnymen 

Reminiscing about Lola’s kisses, Richard turned up his car radio the moment he recognized the first chords of Echo and the Bunnymen’s “Lips Like Sugar Kisses.” He loved the Bunnymen’s music, but he couldn’t, for the life of him, remember just how long ago it had been since that distant summer when Lola had kissed him so deeply, so desperately, that he imagined himself submerged beneath the weight of the Pacific, its blue waters flooding over him, carrying him to the center of the earth. 

Richard smiled a poignant smile, and hummed along with the lines as they squalled from his Toyota’s tinny speakers, “Just when you think you’ve caught her, she glides across the water…” It was, of course, quite a coincidence that he was now—in fact, 20 years later—driving along that same stretch of Pacific Coast Highway, just a few miles north of Zuma Beach, where Lola  had mysteriously drowned. The LA Times had reported that the police recovered her body, and that there had been no signs of “foul play.”

All these years later, Richard still loved the Bunnymen’s reverberant song, but he also remembered that its shimmering chords had been playing in the background when, on their final day together, he and Lola had broken-up ‘for good.’ He recalled how they’d sat together in his little smudge of a beat-up car, while Lola screamed at him that she couldn’t stand his clothes, his car, his mother, his occupation, his awful kisses, and, least of all, his hopeless taste in music.  

“My God, Richard,” she’d fumed, “How can anyone—any responsible adult—possibly like music by a group called ‘Echo and the Bunnymen?’”

As he drove northward now, toward Ventura, with the Pacific placidly glimmering on his left, Richard fondly recalled that he’d been the one who’d, all those years ago, patiently—indeed, painstakingly—taught Lola, a proud, if aquaphobic, native Kansan, to swim.