this morning i awoke with diana beside me in my father’s bed in his new house. i had a moment of confusion before i realized where i was. i lifted myself slowly out of bed so as not to wake her and crept like a mouse around this new place in early morning light, amazed how dad managed to fit most of the furniture from our five-bedroom house into this condo. boxes and scattered photographs rest on table. it will probably be weeks until he digs himself out. my task of the morning was to get my boxes of journals and childhood memories to los angeles. firstly by a friend’s free shipping at his work and the rest by UPS, all before danny comes to pick me up in 2 hours for an Adventure. i had misplaced my company’s UPS account account number so i called my roommate to get it from my computer back in LA only to discover that cory had stayed the night. i got the info i needed and it was a race against time. diana showered and helped me load 6 boxes into the jeep and filled out UPS forms. they couldn’t package up my antique writing desk and offerred no solution short of a $400 freight job so we shipped the boxes and loaded the desk back into the jeep for me to deal with at another time. diana and i ate breakfast at the colonial diner and then danny called that he was 10 minutes away. we met him back at the old house.
and then the goodbye to high ridge… final and done… hugs and cartwheels and i ran to my room feeling like i was forgetting something. i closed my closet doors slowly, ran my hand on the wall and then i saw what i was forgetting to take… a heart shaped prism that my first love, tj, had given me when we were 15 years old. it had hung in my window all this time shining light into my mornings even when i wasn’t tending to it. i pulled it with my hand and it was so loose and old that it came undone willingly.
one cartwheel in each room and… i ran out of my childhood home… wishing its new owners years of love and happiness in it. a shell discarded, a sentimental snapshot, a shared turning point. my sisters and i now make our own homes, without the safety of high ridge road, without the physical reminder of where and how we grew up. it’s all memory from here on out. we will be each other’s reminders… and my photos act as testaments as well. no tearful goodbye, no bay window meditation, just danny coming to take me out of my house for the last time… fitting, really… he is my oldest friend.
we drove to new hope, pa on a perfect day, dry shifting sunlight. sarah, danny’s wife, offerred me the front seat but i declined. “you are the queen. you ride shotgun!” in the back i was comfty cozy and catching up with not only great friends but with danny’s music as well. everything he listens to moves me. bands i’ve never heard before, like snow patrol and dios, seem to speak to me…
sarah was an agreeable chatterbox and danny was a smirking happy thing. the day was a kind of heaven. no where to be, just meandering along a mule-worn path next to a creek, springtime petals soft on the surface and young ducks wading through it. artisan shoppes, lunch in a garden with a fountain and light breezes, sangria… i bought incense and searched for a costume for the masquerade ball, so far to no avail. we saw a house of wrought iron madness being guarded by an alleycat, named ‘alley’, so says a passerby. i took photos of rich green leaves against vibrant blue sky.
we drove through winding tree canopies to their house in montclair, nj. i napped content in the backseat watching the world go by and upon waking entertained funny thoughts that really only sarah could understand because we’re so much alike. we even have the same fae laugh that danny brought finger to ear drum on more than one giggle-burst occasion. when we arrived at their place, it was golden hour and their place was alive in these shadow lights that my camera enjoyed thoroughly. danny cleaned the grill and sarah and i walked to whole foods market to buy things for our bbq picnic in the backyard. we passed old houses and curious flowers. at the market we ran into one of her friends who remembered the last time i flew in for a visit. we all walked the mile or so back together and found a fragrant patch of lavendar billowing out onto the sidewal. while i photographed it, they smelled it. the owner of the house opened her front door and told us we could pick some. we each picked one in delight and continued on home.
our backyard picnic consisted of veggie burgers, cucumber salad and sangria. we chased the last rays of sunset to film more. danny had brought ‘snowball one’ outside for a while. he has two white cats named ‘snowball’ (and he DOES play favorites!) snowball 1 went crazy happy in the grass. he’s 16 years old and the most beautiful cat i’ve ever seen. (sorry, stuart). plush white, different colored eyes and when you say his name, he meows big-mouthed, yet curiously silent. he got too crazy and danny had to put him inside. he stood pathetic behind the top window screen and danny looked as if he might cry as he stared up into the cat’s unfullfilled longing to join us. we spent some time inside before sleeping and i awoke 4 hours later worried about the journals and photographs that i dropped off at ups the previous morning. i signed onto the internet to obsess about them and to write emails. they were en route just fine. worry worry worry…release…
danny woke up and hugged me twice before leaving for work. sarah and i had a whole day of girlie shopping and yoga together in nyc. danny made sure we took umbrellas. i was so excited to be in the rain. it was odd to see someone check the weather before heading outside. los angeles is always a predictable variation of paradise. we went to a fabric store, a bead store. i bought three feather boas, pony tail holders in fae bursts, a gift for cory and a pink muppet top hat. we took a subway downtown to st mark’s place where i was shocked at all my favorite stores that were closed or that had moved. hardly any punks on st marks! shocking! we ate lunch at dojo’s on the patio as the rain fell all around us and stuck to my lungs. i am too used to desert air. we went to trash & vaudeville and walked to integral yoga, where we took a hatha yoga class together. integral yoga is my favorite place because of the sanskrit chants, the quality of the instruction and for how i feel for days afterwards.
i dressed for my cousin brianne’s wedding in the yoga locker room, fussing with hair and shawl and then walked in sandals through puddles to the subway where sarah and i parted ways, her to see a friend in hoboken and me to long island. after a train and a cab i arrived at the wedding hall in atlantic beach where my family was posed for a photograph at the entrance. i slipped in under my father’s arm just in time for the portrait. all my cousins looked beautiful and it was a great night just being together with them. we got our fill of each other, enough to coast us through til the next time we are all together again… a year possibly, maybe two, now that there are no more weddings or bar mitzvahs in sight.
big hugs and out into the world as marbles we went. dad dropped diana and me off at midnight at jfk airport. dad and i were swing dancing in the street as our goodbye. “when will we see each other again, pops?” i asked him as he dipped me. and then diana and i were fighting over who he should come visit first… “come to visit arizona!” “no, come to los angeles!” and then we waved goodbye and ran our carts into an empty airport terminal, our compasses set to mischief. the security guard halted our circus before it even began and sent us to a different terminal. we settled into a corner on top of air conditioning vents like birds laying out our nest for the evening. tapestries? check. boggle? check. frisbee? check. jack daniels? oh HELL yeah, ya know it. our boggle championship ended with me victorious and we passed out on the hard vents, our dreams punctured by overhead announcements.
a few hours later i opened my eyes to diana coaxing me to standing position, “coooommmeeee on, killer”, for her imminent flight to phoenix. without planning it, we both flew the same airline, one hour apart. her flight left out of gate 3 at 7am and mine left out of gate 5 at 8am. we sat at the gate like puffy-eyed monkeys and hugged goodbye… “do it again next week then, for your bday?” she said… “ooooh yeah! that’s right!” she’s driving to see me in just a week! i kissed her cheek. she kissed mine and off she flew, leaving me to my ipod and daydreams.