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I found myself a little angry with God this morning. I had one of those rare moments of clarity about my life and was suddenly so pissed this info comes about 20 years too late.
This week is an anniversary of sorts for me. 20 years ago today, I was waking up in the Dallas home of my then boyfriend's mother. I had driven in the day before, had a lovely traditional New Year's Dinner - his mom made sure I found the lucky penny in the cornbread - and hit the town with the man that has become known to my circle of friends as the Jackass.
We were up very early the next day...he was driving me to California. This task wasn't originally meant to be his. It was to be my mother's. But 1985 was yet another dreadful Christmas. It was the last time my mother ever struck me. And in addition to her being so difficult to be around, Christmas was topped off with a family friend getting stabbed to death and my cousin's last attempt at suicide (she lived).
Mother used these events to back out of moving me to California. I really think she believed I would not go if she didn't take me. But she underestimated me. When I suggested the Jackass (she adored him; our dog didn't.... hmmmm), her response was to wonder what the neighbors would think of my traveling across the country and sharing a room with him. I still remember the astonished look on her face when I asked, "How will they know if you don't tell them?"
So 20 years ago today, the Jackass and I set out for Cali. I wanted to be a producer or so I thought back then. It only took me 15 or so years to realize that someone doesn't move that far from home to chase something. No, you move vast distances when you are running from something.
We had a blast driving here. He was the driver, I was the DJ. The car was so loaded down, I couldn't get out without placing a few cases and boxes on the ground beside the passenger door.
I was snoozing as we approached California. He tapped my arm and asked, "You were born in 64 right??"
"Find a 64 coin in your purse. Hurry!"
I dug around a bit and announced, "The best I can do is a 69 penny."
"O.K....Let me think... that's 5 years. O.K. add a nickel."
"Can I ask why I sitting here with six cents in my hand?"
Moments later, he was pulling the car off to the edge of the highway. We were right in front of the California State Line sign.
"GET OUT! Come on, hurry. It's cold." He dashed out of the car. I followed.
We jumped the barricade and ran west a few feet. He grabbed my shoulder to keep me from running into California. I straightened up and tried to see whatever it was he was so intent on showing me. It was cold and windy and I really had no clue what we were doing on the side of that highway.
He placed his arm around my shoulder and pulled me closer to him.
"Look at that."
I looked at him questioning his sanity.
"That is California. Everything you've ever dreamed of is going to happen to you there. Everything you ever wanted to be, you will be there. You are home."
I had a huge lump in my throat. He had managed to address all my fears. Would I make it or would I tuck my tail between my legs and head back home? Would I even find a job? Could I just stay there long enough to not embarrass myself?
"Now, lean over and make a wish and place your coins over there."
I did as I was told, dropping my coins in the California sand.
"Now, take something for a memory."
I took a pretty rock. Still have it somewhere.
"Now that you're home, you drive. Let's get out of here. It's COLD!"
I raced back to the car to get out of the wind. As I was jumping the barricade, I realized he wasn't with me. He appeared to be digging in the dirt.
"What are you doing? I yelled.
"Covering up your money."
"You never know when you'll be passing back by and need six cents!"
As I was thinking of this journey and what this man has been through the years in my life, I realized that his driving me here was truly the nicest thing he ever did for me. And I was suddenly dumbstruck with the revelation that this trip, this kindness was his ONLY job in my life.
Couldn't I have gotten this knowledge many, many years ago???
He wasn't the man I was "supposed" to marry. He certainly wasn't worth all the grief and anguish he put me through. He wasn't worthy of my faith or my love. He was only supposed to get me here. And that's just fine. He took me home and now, twenty years later, I finally realize what he was trying to tell me. This is my home. And home feels so good.