Moving day. Another town, another house, another blob of paint dripping down the canvas that is my life. Dad was sure he had hit the goldmine this time. Another teaching position at yet another university.
When was he going to realize his nomadic lifestyle is not best suited for an English professor and amateur wine collector?
I didn’t even ask where we were going this time. You learn to stop being so rational after awhile. You just let the road take you where you feel you want to be. Or in my case, where Dad feels he wants to be. We usually take turns as to where we move, last time was mine. If it were up to me, we’d keep going back to New York City, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco.
I loved those cities, roaming free, exploring culture and arts at every corner. Somewhere I was proud to call home.
But Dad says its time for stability. Whatever that means.
Dad waited until I was in the car, strapped down into the seat, and riding at a speed of eighty miles an hour down a busy freeway before telling me where we were going. Now, there was no escape.
“So, Verna, we’re moving to your grandmother’s house,” he said, keeping a stern eye on the road.
“We’re what?!” I shouted, “I am NOT living in the suburbs with Miss Cheerful and her cookie baking and her jazz therapy classes!”
“Verna, it won’t be that bad. And the suburbs will be a change, and your grandmother could use some company. And look, you can go to a real high school, no more of this alternative learning. You could join a club…watch football games. No more running around with artists. You can be a real teenager.”
“Have you been smoking your weed again?” I asked him matter-of-factly, “Because this does not sound like my father.”
“Verna, really. I’m writing a new book, and I think this readjusting of our lives is perfect inspiration,” he said happily. I wondered if he had any marijuana left…
The rest of the afternoon in the car was pure silence. I pulled my feet expertly into the lotus posistion and practiced my meditation, blocking out all of Dad’s inspirational nonsense. I wasn’t sure what his sudden change in lifestyle was all about. He had always been a beatnik extremist. I never had to go to public high school, there were plenty of alternative learning places in the city, and Dad was always against me being involved in formal high school education. He said the best learning didn’t come from lockers and rules, but from artists, and writers and life experience.
And why now the sudden reformation of family ties? Didn’t we live thousands of miles away from my grandmother for a reason? Why now?
How would we ever pass off as normal? I sure hope that wasn’t his next great plan, because I like my life how it already is.
The questions roll over and over, and before I know it, I’m slipping into an unconious state.We had been driving for days. I stopped counting roadsigns, stopped watching the clock. I kept a stack of books at my feet, blazing through them over and over until I had absorbed every page, every breath the writer breathed in unison to their work. And I slept, deep meditative sleep that only a long car ride can bring.