“I just trust in the universe”
Friday morning. GPS off once again, down the road I went until I landed, this time in familiar territory. Pine trees all around, deer and elk prancing about, I was once again in Ruidoso. Completely by accident, and completely necessary in the longer run.
A quick text to Cute Waiter (CW) led to a mini adventure in the woods, and the making of new friends who gave me shelter for the weekend. My final weekend on the road for this chapter.
The weekend was full of wild fun–partying, socializing, bb gun shooting, pedicures, movies, and late night chats. Sunday morning hit, and I was tired. Existing on fumes. After trying a cup of coffee for the first time in 10 months, I gained the stomach ache from hell and to my shell I retreated, unable to function like a human. We all relaxed for a moment, until I couldn’t help how awkward I felt. I got up and went to my car, grabbed out the Atlas and looked at all the roads that lead to the Carlsbad Caverns. It was time to leave, as to not overstay my welcome. I took in a deep breath, mustering up whatever humaning I had in me to thank my new friends for the weekend of a lifetime, when I felt pressure on my feet. I looked down to find CW’s dog, Rocky, standing on my feet, looking straight up with his deep gaze.
Captivated and frozen, it felt like Rock was there to send a message You must stay. “You want me to stay Rock?’ His tail wagged slightly. “Ok, I will stay.” On cue, he walked off of my feet and went parading back into the house. I sipped some water, walked in, and shared what had happened in the driveway.
“Rock knows best.” “You’re going on the hike with us then, yes!” I guess I hadn’t overstayed my welcome, afterall. Or these guys were just the nicest. Either way, that late afternoon was worth it.
We went to Monjeau Peak, a beautiful wooded area that had been struck by a fire a couple years ago, yet existed in a state of green this early September. There was a mini castle laden with bricks, decaying trees, and the biggest treat: wild horses running through the woods. We all stood there, taking it in, experiencing it in our own unique ways. I leaned against a rock, savoring how fortunate I was to have felt in the company of friends for the weekend. It all felt so familiar and comfortable, and that is a rare feeling to achieve even with people I’ve known for years.
The night wound down for me, the student with homework due, but continued steadily on for the guys–who decided to battle it out Edward 40 hands style. Laughter, vomit, shouting, antics. One passed out on the couch, the other disappeared. When I was done with homework, the sleeping one woke up to watch a Taranino flick with me as the sky produced heavy rain, thunder and lightning. “Do you know how to tell how far the lighting is? Wait until you hear the thunder and count 1-100, 2-100, 3-100…” The storm was 40 miles away.
The sun rose as did the house. I woke up to see my friend go off to work, and to see CW arrive to bid me adieu. “What’s your plan?”
“I’m not really sure, I just feel like I should go home for a little while, see everyone.”
I shook it, and showed CW my itinerary.
“Let’s get lunch after your class and then say goodbye.” I was buying time, feeling so uncertain about what to do for the first time in awhile.
Laughing, joking, walking down the street, I took in the last moments of Ruidoso, complete with seeing a slain elk paraded on the back of a truck. After saying “See-ya” to my gracious host, CW walked me to my car, which was right by his truck. Some polite chatter continued on about books and synchronicity.
His radio lit up, my phone was still connected to it via bluetooth from playing DJ that weekend. Simone was calling, I ignored it, knowing I’d call her back in 5 minutes. “Oh, I told her all my emotions this weekend. She probably wants to hear about that, and tell me about her new job.”
“Oh, all your emotions? Huuhh??” He was all playful smiles as a text came through. “Let’s read that text, I can read it here you know.”
Playful panic inched over me as I grabbed my phone from my pocket, trying to beat him to the text.
“Call me. Your Mom is in the hospital.” CW read it to me and my heart stopped. My eyes felt narrow. “Do you need anything?” “Yes stay with me for that call, I’m going to ugly cry.”
Some hand holding and hugging, I was so grateful to not be alone for that call. I was so grateful that I felt the need to go home. I was so grateful that Rock stood on my feet, or else I would have been deep into Texas in that moment of time, instead of with someone I could seek comfort from, instead of only 2 states away from home.
My Mom had a heart attack. “I’m headed home.”
I drove for 6 hours, and was so tired, I had to stop for the night and sleep. Calls poured in during the day, but spotty service kept me alone, tied to the radio and whatever distraction I chose. I drove 8 hours the next day, made it to my Mom 20 hours after getting the call. She was scared, afraid of the angiogram scheduled for the next day. Afraid that her daughter was going to become parentless all in one year. Simone was there with her, refusing to let her be alone through it. I walked in with hugs, smiles, laughter, comedy, all the goodness I could muster to lift spirits. I don’t currently have access to that human I existed as that night, but I’m sure she helped us all get through the scariest part. The whole thing felt so surreal. And continued to feel that way for the next 3 weeks. I think the toughest hurdles are cleared for now.
Only in CA: Welcome Home.
“Yes! They have my favorite flavor–red!!”
“See, that’s why I missed you–who else knows that red is a flavor?”
“Well, it sooo is.”
SImone and I giggled as we walked through Safeway, my first morning back, to grab some breakfast before heading down to support Mom through her angiogram.
Joking, probing, lighting up, we passed by the meat section, where a tall beefy man stood near the manager’s specials. Without thinking, I exclaim “Look at all that meat in the managers special today!”
Simone nudged me, shocked at how outgoing I was being. The guy grunted, annoyed with the comment. Under my breath I kinda chuckled “Sorry, I’m still on travel mode. Talk to everyone.”
“I know, i know.” Simone smiled as we walked a hundred or so feet away, laughing about California and how annoying the rest of the country finds us native Californians.
“It’s just..look at all this milk! There are so many options. I have my milk back! Only in California!”
“Only in California!”
..”YEAH, WHAT YOU GON’ DO ABOUT IT N****!” Smash, clank. “YOU GONN DO SOMETHNG BOUT IT? WHAT YOU GON’ DO!”
The beefy guy (BG) from the meat section was full on yelling and squaring shoulders with another tall, beefy guy with clear gang tattoos, an obvious gang member (GM). A young woman, dressed like a gang wife in her bright red track suit, long nails, and puffy hair, stood off to the side, watching GM with a scared and serious look in her eyes. Displays were tossed on the ground as the men continued yelling at each other and store security came running up.
Simone was on her tip-toes, inching out into the aisle, watching it. I look at it and laughed. Almost in unison Simone and I say “Only in California!” hahaha. The yelling subsides, and they go their separate ways.
“It’s just you have to be in California to fully understand California.” Simone was making justifications for me. I missed the heck out of her comfort.
“Yeah, like only in California are you going to hear POC’s call each other the N word and fight in the grocery store. It’s like, California is all ‘welcome home, you can only get this in California’!” We started laughing, “ONLY IN CALIFORNIA!” we repeated this a couple times as we turned the corner to go the register, almost running right into GM and his girlfriend. She had her arm around him, trying to calm him down. She looked at us in the eyes, she looked dead inside. Simone’s and my smiles dissipated quickly. We walked to the self checkout and watched them go to a line at the other side.
I was halfway through ringing up when I heard it. THUD. “WHAT YOU GON’ DO ABOUT IT NOW N****. I’M GOING TO PUT THIS IN YOU!”
I turn around, Simone looks frozen. BG has GM up against the wall, his hand buried in his back. I’m going to put this in you…”Oh my God Simone, he has a gun.” She looks at me. “Then we need to get out of here.” I forget to sit my red-flavored juice down as her and I speed out the doors. They open and there is a group of kindergartners there on a field trip, ready to enter.
“There’s a gun. Do not go in there.” Simone and I say variations of this to the chaperones of the kindergartners and they say “Grab hands and follow us.” Simone and I each grab the hands of some of the kids as a little boy asks me “What’s happening in there?” “There are some very angry people we don’t need you to be around.” All of us pile into the Verizon store as the sales rep locks the doors. The woman chaperone is a dispatcher by trade, asks me to describe the incident with what they are wearing. Simone, another chaperone, and I see more children piling out of cars. We go running out of the store and tell all the parents to get the kids back in the cars as we see sirens pull up. Cops, EMTs, Firefighters. We see BG in cuffs, being taken to the cop car. I look at her “I think it’s safe to go in there. I don’t want to steal this juice.” “Yes, let’s go finish up. We need to eat before we go to your Mom.”
As we walk in, we see GM limping, holding onto his ribs, hunched over, blood pouring out in a trail behind him. Him and the girl sit down. Simone goes over to ask if he’s ok, and overhears the story. BG made nasty comments to the girl, and it escalated from there. It was a knife, not a gun. Still glad we stopped the kids from seeing that, all the same. We ring up, check on the cashiers we saw frozen in the moment, and helped get the staff back in their right minds. We got home to find out that Grandma had caught the tail end of it, and thought it was a simple robbery. Nope. We were there to see it all. But you do not talk to cops in front of gang members. We left. Ate. and went to the hospital to see Mom. …Welcome home?
I know it’s taken what feels like a million years to get this blog running again, but my soul says it’s time to start again. The structure might change a little bit: I’m pretty tied to being in CA right now, so the state travel won’t be as quick. Instead, I will post about mini adventures and travel.
Since my last blog, I’ve
*Advocated for my Mom’s health
*Accepted a marketing position at Luna Sea Vodka (executed a couple events already)
*Traveled outside of the country for the first time!! (Guatemala)
*Moved part-time to Santa Cruz
*Set a graduation date for Sierra Nevada College (I’m in my last semester, and walk May 16).
It’s been 6 months since returning, and I’ve been one busy lady. Tomorrow I go spread a portion of my Dad’s ashes, but just a portion. Maybe I’ll make a post about that.
As always, thank you for following my journey. It’s always a full one.