What happened today? Well, it was a long and boring 9 hours through Nebraski and Iowa, and I just spent four hours laughing and telling stories with my college buddies: Tracy, Jeanne, Beth and...me! Jeanne's wife, Linda, and their friend Jana joined in on the revelry. I wonder what they were thinking as we discussed pink bikinis, extensive cocaine use and forays into threesomes. (Who? Me?) So, I can't really remember that long, boring drive. Even Chester and Bellie were preternaturally quiet.
At one point, I convinced myself that Bellie had crawled out of the sunroof when I stopped for gas. I called out to her and she didn't churp or come to the front. Chester did, though, and we cuddled a little. I called her again. No response. Bellie is a very social cat; an attention whore. Just like her Mom. So, I called louder. Again, no noise, no Bellie, no nothing.
I then screamed. Yes, I screamed her name over and over and actually started to cry, imagining her wandering around at that gas station, all alone. In the dark. Her perfect pink and black paw pads encrusted with grit and gasoline. It was horrible. Horrible. I pulled over on a windy highway in the dark, put on my hazards, turned on the light and crawled halfway into the back of the car. And. There she was. Sitting as pretty as a picture on the pink flannel pillow cover in the cat carrier, her front paws crossed one over the other. Just looking at me with her trademark steady green gaze, as if to say, "You're so silly."
Now it's funny, but a trace of that panic still bubbles in my belly. I cannot imagine the reality of not having my cats by my side. They are my family. I love them and they love me. Anyone who says cats aren't loyal, or attached to their people, either don't know cats and therefore spit out the party line, or have superimposed their interractions with cats with their ridiculous insults.And lack of insight. Hm. Sounds like my RDP. (By the way, that means Registered Domestic Partner. I guess it's a California thing.)
And, now, back in the present moment. Tracy is sitting to my right with her beautiful blue eyes, batting her long eyelashes and hypnotizing me with her Arkansas honey toned voice. She's taught me yet another Southern colloquialism, "we all carry our own bag a' hammers." Hers is Lupus, mine is a secret. Well, I need to come out at some point, but not now. Not ready. Anyway, she's not sure it's Southern, but I want it to be.
The first time she taught me a Southern colloquialism, I was standing in the kitchen of my Mom's redwood house in Scotts Valley, California in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. She lived there with my stepfather, Gerry, who at the time was still a mean drunk who leared at my "boobs and butt" as he so often said to me. It must have been Christmas because I remember the rain, and I remember bitching about something. And Tracy just said, very reasonably, "girl, don't get your panties in a wad." Oh my god, I laughed.
I did my best all day to say "no" to the negative nellies poking me on the inside of my skull. The best I could do was be highly irritable and yell a lot at how poorly others were driving. Especially the WalMart trucks. Terrible. ABF truck drivers are good drivers. That makes me happy as Tracy's family runs ABF. I always get to be reminded of my sister-friend whenever I see the green detailed big rigs. Also, they missed my initials by one letter. The letter, however, is my sister's middle initial. I used to think that was really auspicious. I think I still do.
I finally got off the 80 after three long days. Took the 29 South to Kansas City, Missouri. All of a sudden, the scenery became pretty again.
Missouri is my 6th state so far: Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. I'll be here the longest, in Missouri. I'll stay the weekend with my friends, and then drive a few hours to St. Louis and stay a few days with my Dad and his wife Babs. I hope I get to see my high school buddy, Diana, too. Go to one of her yoga classes. She teaches this chakra yoga, which I thought sounded a little new agey, as if she pulled it out of West Marin County (across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and one of the most expensive places to live in the country). However, on my last trip to St. Louis, only a few weeks ago, I was really sweetly surprised to experience how heartfelt and grounded her yoga felt. I look forward to another class.
I really love my friend Laura. She calls me every day in the car, and puts up with me ranting about my soon to be ex, or let's me say only "I'm irritable so can we not talk?" Sends some texts, but doesn't push me into socializing when I don't want to be, or simply can't because of the sink hole's sticky goo that still trails off my back bumper, the faux racks on the top of the Subaru. Wheel wells. You see what I mean. I hope so.
So, it's very late. After 1 a.m. Central Standard. My cats are waiting for me in the guest room Jeanne and Linda have so thoughtfully made up for me. Tracy is already in hers. And, Jeanne and Linda have been dragged to bed by Gracy and Tanner, their wonderful dogs. I'm sure Cash and Cricket the cats are all snug in there too.
What a great night. After such a long day. To be around people who knew me at such a different time in my life. Reminding me of the silk side of my, as the Chinese might say, "interesting" life choices.
Did I tell you that Jeanne went out and got me Mexican food? Tracy called me about 20 minutes away from Jeanne and Linda's house in KC as they were worried. Apparently, it was 9:30, not 8:30. Oops. My car time is different than my phone time which is different from my computer time. (There's time pushing me around again.) They insisted I tell them what I wanted to eat. I said Mexican. They told me that they had it there at the house. Instead, I walked in the door, hugged and greeted and exclaimed and smiled and laughed with everyone but Jeanne. "
Where is Jeanne?" I say. "She went out to get you Mexican food." This one act of kindness brought all my irritability to its knees. Where it should be, saying thank you thank you...