August 14, 2005


When we got back from our first reconnoiter-the-New-York-area trip in April, I remember driving down Melrose past the boutiques, Fairfax High School, the so-chic lighting and furniture stores with their colorful window displays, their plumage fluffed out and enticing against drab single story block-shaped buildings, and feeling as if I was driving through a stage set. These were all flats propped up by scaffolding, no substance, no reality, just a thin sliver of Los Angeles that I could scatter with a breath to reveal real life behind it. Real life, of course, was New York/New Jersey/home that was and will become.

That feeling faded, of course, as those feelings always do, as the minutes and days go by and you settle back into the mundane and the immediate. After our second trip, I expected to feel the same strange displacement, as if real life was elsewhere, not here. I did and I didn't. I do and I don't.

This time it feels more like I no longer live here, that I'm staying in this odd sort of bed and breakfast, only they're making me do all the housekeeping. (And packing. For some strange reason, this hotel has piles and piles of life detritus to organize and pack.) I'm here but I've already left. And yet sometimes, like last night over dinner with friends in a lovely little French bistro, I feel as if I do live here. As if I've lived here forever, as if I will grow old and die here, wither away into myself like the ninety two year old woman in her studio apartment next door, alone with her blaring Russian language TV.

We're waiting to move now. It's an active waiting, a say goodbye to all that and do a whole lot of work besides sort of waiting period, but fact is, we're neither here nor there. We're somewhere in the middle of the country, in the so-called flyover states that we will soon, and with great relish, be driving through, savoring the miles as we go.

I think it's right that we drive and don't fly. How else can we make this real? This distance between here and there, palm trees and sunset over the ocean versus sugar maples and the green copper Lady of the Harbor holding her torch aloft, welcoming us home.

I don't want to fly, I don't want to slip from one dream into another. I want to feel the miles, experience the shift in terrain from scrubby canyon land to wind-sculpted red rock hills to the buckle and twist of the Rocky Mountain range and on through gradually lusher landscapes, rambling through the countryside as we approach more familiar terrain until finally my inner landscape matches what I see out the window.

Less than three weeks now. Every day Damian asks, "How many days until we leave?" It's a countdown. In seventeen days, Cocoa boards an airplane bound for New Jersey. In nineteen days, the movers come and sweep our life onto a truck. In twenty days, we hug Tiny Coconut and her family goodbye after spending the night at their house (no beds left here!) and head out, take the 210 to the 15 to points east. We begin the adventure.

In just twenty days we begin anew.

Posted by Tamar at August 14, 2005 09:05 PM | TrackBack