Chapter 7 – California Here I Come! (And Go)

My mom had come to see me and my sister in Texas before driving the moving truck up to Tulsa.  I had hoped she would stay in California and I could go home for the summer and we could move together.  I guess my mom had gotten used to her independence as well.  Fortunately, my mom’s best friend (who is my best friend’s mom and my second mom) said I could come stay with them for the summer.

Ah, it was good to be home.  The beautiful ocean and it’s spectrum of colors from pale aqua-marine to deep purple-gray, my favorite mochas from Vinaka Cafe, old friends…I was home again.  But it was different.  I was different.  I finally had a plan, for the first time in my life, I had a plan, and San Diego County is more about enjoying life without a plan.  But I had to make the most of my goodbye.

It is here that I owe homage to my-then-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Cory.  He was indispensable to me during this period of my life, and the story isn’t really honest without mentioning him.  Cory had been an upstate New York transplant and didn’t really “get” San Diego when he’d first moved there.  And while I “got” the land, I didn’t exactly fit into the San Diegan crowd myself.  I had my own, private love-affair going on with the coast and no one to share it with.  Cory was my life-saver.  At six years my senior, we were “just friends” for a long time.  I showed him all the places I had explored during my days as a latch-key kid with a driver’s license, and he made me eat scary foods like calamari and meatballs with raisins (both of which I ended up liking very much).  He had been there for me when my dad left, helped us with car troubles and was available pretty much every night for coffee.  When I went off to Texas, our romantic relationship was kind of up in the air, but he was still my best friend and I had an entire summer free, so of course I would spend it with him.

Cory and I had made a couple of other friends at the church we had started attending before I left.   Sometime mid-summer, we decided to ask two of them, Andrew and April if they’d like to join us for one last big adventure:  a cross-country road-trip culminating in dropping me off in Tulsa just in time for school.  We decided on a couple weeks’ notice to drive from San Diego to New York, stay with Cory’s parents up-state, drive to New York City and stay with Cory’s friend, go to D.C, visit Cory’s grandma in North Carolina, visit April’s dad in Florida and drop me off in Tulsa.  From San Diego to New York to Florida to Oklahoma, in 18 days.  Ah sweet youth…and all it’s blissful stupidity.

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