Monday, February 3, 2014

One Year Later

When you're busy adapting to a new situation it's hard to put your life into perspective much less into words. When I left San Antonio for college life in Los Angeles, I didn't think twice. I was excited to move and explore life as an independent adult. It was a wonderful experience. Yes, it was also difficult but problems aren't the end of the world when you have ways of blowing off steam with tons of other young adults going through the same thing. Now, I'm enjoying my last year of the thirsty thirties back in San Antonio. It has been one year since my arrival or rather my journey back. I believe time is cyclical and overlaps. Nothing is ever so clean as going from A to B to C. For me at least, it's been point A to C to Z and back to D. The thought of moving back happened rather quickly but situations in my life were already aligning in a way that when the opportunity to move was presented, it was the best thing for me. Then everything made sense.

The journey here was wrought with emotion. Aside from the pain of leaving LA, my friends, the world at my fingertips, we faced a terrible accident. My dad skid and somersaulted on the dark and icy road through New Mexico. He could have lost his life but by some miracle, he was saved. It was a dark moment that made me wonder if this move was even worth it. No, it made me realize that it HAD to be worth it. I lost almost everything. My furniture, clothes, and my pet turtle of 16 years. I didn't care about the material. I felt a deep loss for my pet. He never did much but wait for me to come home. He would tap on the glass of his aquarium and let me know he was there. He was stinky and he shed his shell now and then. He loved worms and stretching his limbs in the sunlight. But somehow I feel that he gave his life for my dad. Yes, no doubt, I rather have my dad. But that little critter brought peace and happiness to my life by just being there. My one constant. I pray he didn't suffer and sometimes I wonder if perhaps he survived and fled to the nearest river. He could do it. He could have survived. I will never know.

That January night was horrible. Having to wake my mother up and tell her the bad news. My dad had already called her. I wanted to leave immediately and go find him. It tore me up. We checked the weather.His truck was totaled. He was beat up. He sold that truck for pennies and was soon on his way home in a new Uhaul with all my broken past in tow. I don't know why I couldn't talk about this before. It was perhaps just too painful. Still is. Finally a few days later, with my mom and baby on board, we stuffed the car with what could fit and headed east. There are no songs about heading east. It's always West. "The West is the best". It took us four days. I should have been two. The roads were still slick. I stopped in Tucson. Then El Paso. Leaving El Paso, the day was cold but the sun was out. I was eager to get home. My plan was to stop in Arizona and take a day to visit the Grand Canyon as a family. We were supposed to caravan together. My dad couldn't take it anymore. He wanted to hit the road and besides, he didn't feel comfortable parking a Uhaul trailer anywhere for too long with my whole adult life packed in it. So he went on ahead. I wanted to see Sedona and I really wanted to road trip to Santa Fe. No go. Santa Fe was snowed in and I just wanted to see my dad who was finally home in San Antonio. We said goodbye to El Paso and headed up the mountain. The clouds were dark and ominous. It began to rain and everyone was going 80. Fine, I can hang with the best of them. More rain and snow on the side of the road. We climbed higher. Patches of ice formed on the sides. Before I knew it, there were sheets of ice covering one lane and then the other. Trailers passing me by going 80. Cars tailgating wanting to go 90. When in Rome, really? I've never driven with such intensity. My hands gripped the steering wheel, knuckles turned white, my mom prayed. It was the longest ride. By the grace of the divine, we made it to Ft. Stockton. I pulled over at a Mexican restaurant, called my dad, hands still shaking. We ate a good meal and by luck found a very nice hotel complete with an indoor pool and heated jacuzzi. My baby girl still asks if we can go back there again. Never again. Never again.

A few weeks later, we celebrated my dad's 70th birthday. We brought balloons and a cake. My cousin founds a tiny piƱata. My baby bought him a red rose. He's always hated attention. But this time, he smiled and we had a good time.

It's now one year later. My dad can turn his head all the way, we got a puppy and I have yet to buy new furniture. I am still in transition. I'm still adjusting. I'm still on this journey. Unlike my college days, there's no one going through the same situation. After college, you're on your own to carve your own path. Your crossroads are different from everyone else's and the road you choose is yours alone. I never thought I'd be back here living in San Antonio. I don't dare predict what the future holds. All I can hope for . . . is for it all, in the end, to make sense.

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