overhaul / undertow

Saturday, September 28, 2002

leaving to come home

I've always had a bit of the "gypsy in me," as Kate would put it. I love LA, as there are few cities as sublimely wonderful and terrifying all at once. But I often get the urge to point my car's nose north, or east, and hit the gas.

I've followed through a few times too. It's been wonderful. Perhaps ill-advised--a woman leaving home without so much as a word to loved ones, family members, friends, coworkers et al., but hella wonderful, and I wouldn't trade these solo adventures for the world.

Leaving places can also be notoriously hard for me. I waited 'til I was 20 to move out of my folks' house, and even then it was a horrendous trial. I was miserable and brokenhearted. My childhood was over and I missed it like hell, and I was, for some reason, completely certain I would die--absolutely die--without my parents' constant presence.

Of course within a week I was loving living on my own, although I wouldn't admit it to the 'rents. I think I had been terrified to leave because I was so sure I'd never, ever go back. I still have not. They still live in the same house in the Valley, and I see them maybe two, three times a month, which seems not too bad.

My current adventure, though, is not self-originated at all. In fact, the folks announced they were going, and asked if I'd like to come along.

Who could turn down a free ticket to Maui, and accomodations?

We went several times when I was eight to maybe 13 years old, and once we found a place to stay that we liked, we kept going back. It's this place that has rows of rental condos--teeny things, but nice, and who cares if it's small when it's right on a delicate little inlet filled with the bluest water imaginable, ranging from ultramarine deep to ruddy browns--that's the sea grass--to turquoise that's shot with sunlight, where you can see sandy bottom twenty feet down. Every time we went we saw the same damn turtles happily paddling around out there, flying under the water (or maybe the babies of the same damn turtles) and when my parents went again three years ago with friends of theirs (I stayed home that time), the turtles were still there. Behind the place the land slopes up into fields that look like they're filled with insanely green grass, but up close it's miles upon miles of sugarcane, taller than my father, melting into untended forest at the top, forest dripping with collected condensation and vines with leaves the size of my outstretched arms. The forest moves further up into almost vertical, craggy mountains blanketed with green, and every few crevasses you can spy the tightrope-thin lines of waterfalls, strung down like spiderwebs between the peaks and the jungle below.

It is beautiful, and I'm immensely grateful to them. I could not have afforded this at all. And I really need the rest. I'm a strung-out stressball, and it's making me sick. The headaches are coming daily these last few weeks, and I have to take more and more medicine to dull them. Last night I resorted to icepacks all up my back to my neck. It finally helped me sleep. I think leaving town, and dropping the ball on my daily life even for a brief amount of time, will help immensely.

So we're off, like a herd'a'birds. We leave Monday. It should be interesting. I don't mind vacationing with my parents, as there are no siblings to deal with--never had 'em, never will--and, for the most part, my parents often appear sane, at least for all practical intents and purposes.

Of course they can be difficult too, with my mom throwing tantrums about being late for things that don't matter, and my dad getting obsessive-compusive right as we leave--"Wait, I have to go back in and make sure I shut off the stove....hmmm...did I lock that gate? Wait...." but all in all it should be, in a way, that trip back home I never made: living with my family again.

In a well-appointed bayside rental condo, of course, rather than the Valley.


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