As some of you may know, my Dad was recently transferred for his job and will be moving to Africa soon. And as the days that comprise “soon” grow smaller and smaller, and I realize how grateful I am to have him in my life, whether he is here, Washington or Africa, I can’t help but feel a wave of sadness approaching. Perhaps that will be good. Fuel to drive the book. Perhaps.
A week ago, my sister and I flew up to Washington to see him, to hang out before he is too far to hop on a plane and go see. I, of course, fell ill with sinusitis immediately upon landing and my sister was fine. I seem to turn into The Incredible Hulkette on the inside whenever I am stressed about upcoming events. And between his leaving, and my sis and I driving the West Coast (Dad very generously gave me his little Honda to drive while he is away in Africa, and I am kind of freaking out that I have a car again), the stress built and built and the snot and gross mucus grew in my head until the day we drove down and I had to load myself up with Sudafed and eight hours into driving, only two away from the Bay Area- our first stop- asked my sister to take the wheel. I needed to take Mucinex and the DM part of that whole decongestant makes me feel like a looney toon. I am such a lightweight, if this didn’t please me so much, I’d probably be embarrassed. In any case, we switched seats, she took the wheel, I held the Kleenex and we finished the drive from Washington State to San Fran in less than ten hours.
The drive down through the mountains, past Mount Shasta, all through Oregon and the well wooded hills, was breathtaking. In Southern California, I forget about trees. And hills. And what it looks like to be surrounded by lush greenery. I forget about the rain, about clouds and looking forward to sunshine. I just forget what it’s like to not live in Southern California. Mostly I forget how much I love the North.
On our day in the bay, Sis and I went to check out Cal Berkeley, as she is currently finishing her own prerequisites to get into a four year college, and as she’s never stepped foot on any campus, I figured what’s better than a tour around Berkeley’s big, beautiful and bountiful campus. The place is huge. Lined with trees and oddities like Telegraph and no amount of the area or campus or city will be boring and at no time did I not think to myself, “I would love to attend classes here.” So, the trip was for both of us, to inspire her to work hard and remind me that if I don’t happen to get into UCLA this coming Fall then it is not the end of the world and I will just send my applications to more schools. And probably UCLA again.
And our time came to leave the bay, to drive the short 5.5 back to LA, I actually may have done it in 5 but would be admitting some high level of speeds along the way, so we can say 5.5 and believe we made good time. And I dropped Sis off at the train station so she could continue onto SD and I could go home and snuggle Sauce and the Man, Sauce who has been sick like a dog, barfing and belly aches, and only this morning is it all revealed in one great dump on the lawn. The poor girl, the poor gross girl, ate a tampon. And the tampon passed through and now she is in tip top shape and I’m glad she’s okay but the bathroom door will remain shut and I will keep more solid eyes on that pooch. Gross little thing.
So I am home again, with a car, after a long adventure with my little sis, after saying goodbye to Dad and hello to life on the road again. How I’ve longed for this day to come. The day of being able to drive myself to work, or the grocery store, or Sauce to the dog park. The day of independence, this day, I can’t help but want to sit on the couch and snuggle my tampon eating monster, and then later take the bus up to school and not worry about parking and paying and quarters and meters. And I look at the car on the street and am excited it is in fact mine, my very own car, fully paid, and I can’t help but be sad. I only have this car because he is leaving. And I would much prefer to keep my Dad.