Heading east with LA in the rearview & iphone photos of red tail lights…

leaving LA

Dunga Brook Diary, remembering July, 2011.

Leaving LA, after 25 years, felt like the right thing to do. LA was a pit stop, a very complicated, very expensive pit stop on my journey through life.

On the road from LA to NY, I followed my son in his truck and took iPhone pictures through my truck’s windshield. Mostly of his tail lights. I admired his ability to drive away from the only life he’d ever known, his childhood friends, the dry heat and the desert he loved, all in the support of my new gold dream.

I’m an old hand at leaving. The first time was traumatic, my dad was transferred from Florida to Illinois in January and I went from a Gilligan’s Island type paradise to some sort of snowy 70’s version of Petticoat Junction. Sans the pretty girls and fun. I spent years plotting my way out, first as a long haul truck driver, which I realized later was the desire to run, be powerful, in charge of my own destiny. I toyed, during a brief summer romance, with the idea of leaving as someone’s wife, the wife of a football coach who transferred from campus to campus in search of that ultimate winning team. But hooking on to someone else’s dream is just not my thing. No matter how handsome the dreamer.

The summer after college, I ended up taking my mom’s powder blue International Scout and moving to a Colorado ski resort for seasonal work. Five super saturated 80’s years as a “ski bunny” in Vail was my max. When a friend moved to LA, I thought, why not try a big city, see what you can do as a small fish in a big pond?

But this cross-country move was different, I was uprooting someone else’s life. Connor was off to college in the fall and somehow I’d justified it in my mind that moving the day after he graduated would be the best timing for both of us.

I didn’t cry during our going away party, packed as it was with every fun friend I’d made from all my varied walks of life in the big city, but he did, tipsy on absconded beer  he communed with his Cali best buds while the band played and we danced. I didn’t cry as we packed, when we drove away. The hours and the miles ticked by.

Across the plains, the skies were a cathedral of thunderheads, rainbows that went straight up and down, lightning that streaked sideways. It was majestic, this threat of weather related annihilation. Nothing happened for hours, aside of the light show and darker skies. Finally, the great release as the rain came.

I cried then, my wet eyes on his quivering red tail lights, the distance vast between us.

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