Saturday, March 25, 2006

pivotal moment

when i was 16 my family disintegrated. i hadn't thought about that. i was a teenager and it was 1968, everything was going to hell and it was Up To Us to Stop The War, don't you know, so i hadn't had any time yet to realize the nature of family structures, that they were structures and not impermeable objects. the summer between sophomore and junior year my mother decided california was going to fall into the sea and put our house in Daly City on the market. when i begged and pleaded she said don't worry, it won't sell.

it sold in three weeks. by that fall we were in a motel in Sedona, Arizona--long before there *was* a Sedona, Arizona as you would know it; there was nothing there but a grocery store and the motel in the wide space in the road where we'd stopped-- watching Richard Nixon get elected. my lifeline was writing hundred-page letters to my friends back home, all of whom were scheduled to fall into the sea at some point. i guess they did, because i have no idea where any of them are now. not much idea where i am, either. not too long after that i hit this road.

last month grace drove me back to that house. we were in a screaming hurry to get me to my plane and her back to her family, and it had been 30 years or so and then i couldn't find the neighborhood, the neighborhood was somebody else's neighborhood, and gracie was true to her name putting up with my ineptitude, and then finally she found it herself and we drove up the street i have been walking down in dreams every night of my life for the past several decades. walking down and down the hill and never reaching the bottom. the houses were there, my house looked the same. the people next door were probably there but they'd be about 100 now and I hadn't been in touch for a couple of years, so I couldn't just pop in and say hi, i'm leaving now. so i didn't. i stood in the street and looked at the house, we weren't there ten minutes. time warped, but i don't know just how, exactly. i was rip van winkle. i was the ancient mariner. i was odysseus and penelope in one, i was home. grace took me home. "you'd do it for me," she said.

yes. yes, i would.


Post a Comment

<< Home