The day I knew it was time to move. It was in Roswell, New Mexico. I sat on the park bench as the sun went down. A couple hundred miles away in Lubbock, Texas was my home. I had lived in Lubbock for almost a year.
A year of hot and cold. There were few good moments in my year in Lubbock. But I remember Roswell. Something in me told me it was time to move. I didn’t want to return to Lubbock.
As soon as I got back to town I called my landlord. It felt optimistic. And I remember feeling like my life would be better. I would move. I would get a better job. I would write. Make money. Be happy.
I remember packing up a trailer. And the pain in the ass it was to back up. Almost a two weeks before it was time to go I packed my things. I remember wanting to leave. The heat and the cold. And my crazy roommate.
Do you want to have sex with me? She came in one night and asked me. I did not. And she didn’t seem to want to just accept my answer. Why not she asked.
But as I pulled out of town it was all in the dust. Me, my blue car, my kitty and all my things in a trailer. The drive ahead of me. I remember feeling excited for something new. Something different. Even though I was going back to a place I had been before.
It is a small town in Colorado I remember the most. Salida is an art town in the mountains. And it was an art night when I drove through. A beautiful little town. It made me want to stay. But I recalled the cold winters and snow of Colorado. Besides where I was going would be home. I remember thinking it would be home.
After stopping to visit a friend. And taking time to discover another mountain town I remember driving into Wyoming. The next stop on my agenda was Yellowstone. One of the scenic wonders I had yet to visit.
I remember Yellowstone. It was a special place. And the Grand Tetons. Someone once told me tetons comes from a word which means breasts. The French named them.
After a couple hours in Yellowstone I was ready to continue. I remember wanting to stop in Bozeman and Missoula Montana. For the whole trip I slept in my car. I remember waking up to the beauty of nature outside my window. It wasn’t hot and it wasn’t cold. The road is so free. In my heart I sometime wonder if the road it my only home.
Bozeman is where I did laundry. And I shopped at a small co-op in Missoula. How did you find us, the clerk asked me. Google Maps. Small towns like Missoula and Bozeman make me miss the days I remember in a small town growing up. I feel so alone in the city. But I have lived in small towns recently and I remember feeling alone in them too.
All I remember of the last couple years is feeling alone. Through the hot and cold.
I remember driving through Idaho. There was a dead deer in the road. I had to drive so it would pass under my car. But it hit my exhaust and broke it. The next morning in a Walmart parking lot I discovered the damage.
Sometimes the universe looks kindly on me. This was one of those moments. In the parking lot was someone who knew how to weld. All he needed was some equipment. They called around and found a shop. We drove over to the shop and he was able to fix my exhaust. I paid him, but the shop owner took no money from me or my handyman savior. The whole ordeal cost me less than $100.
I remember getting back on the road. I knew it wasn’t far. My plan was to drive along the north side of the Columbia. Interstate 84 runs along the southside, it is faster. But I wanted to see the river. To be able to stop and take pictures. I remember some bikers I met along the way.
They were hitch-hiking and I stopped to offer what help I could. They wanted a ride, with their bikes. They said the wind was too much for them to ride through. Not having the space I had t refuse. But I suggested riding at night would be easier.
You see I told them, the land heats the air and it rises. Then air from the ocean, which is cooler, comes rushing to fill the vacuum. But at night, the air above the land will be cooler.
The sun was beating down. The river was full of wind boarders. I remember driving along the curves of the road. My camera battery was dead so I didn’t stop much. And every mile I got closer to Vancouver I remember feeling excited about the life to come.
In Vancouver I would reconnect with old friends. I would make new friends. I would get a good job. I would make money. I would be happy. I remember being so hopeful. So eager for it all to begin.
I remember sending text messages to a friend. I am on my way. I remember thinking I would see her soon. It would be the next day, or maybe the same day. After all the miles. She didn’t live so much further for me to go see her.
I remember driving through Washougal for the first time. Turning onto Interstate 205, and then Route 500. And I must have done something wrong because I ended up at the mall.
When I got to my new home, my friend opened the door with a smile. She has the same stunning beauty of the actress from Portlandia. “Put a bird on it,” I told her.
At last I was here. I remember feeling relived. Almost feeling happy. Her children and some neighbor kids helped me unload and move my things into the room. And then I settled into life in Vancouver.
(Post Script: This was written as part of an exercise from a new writing book I bought: Room to Write, Ronni Goldberg. I will post more as I work through the book. The exercise was to write something based on memory. I know I have already been posting a lot of memory stuff. I wanted this to be different, so I choose something recent.)