Kitty’s incessant diatribe on the way up was able to keep me out of my head for the most part, not giving me a chance to dwell on what I would say to her, how to prepare myself for every reaction possible – from breaking down in tears to opening the front door solely to spit in my face and give me the finger through the door window as she turned & walked away with her finger still held above her head.
The drive was exquisite once we got onto CA 128, the final 45 mile stretch to her house along twisted mountain roads, trees & pastures everywhere and occasionally following a small river on the right. In some places, the trees stretched to meet in the middle of the road creating a canopy, and though I had driven this road to my mother’s house three times earlier, seeing and admiring the same things – this time I looked at it as if they were protecting me, hugging me and saying “whatever happens, it will be all-right – one way or another.
A subtle smile lifted my lips. I know, but I had forgotten for a moment. Thank you for reminding me.
What frightened me the most was the possibility that she wouldn’t be there. Kitty had driven all the way from Sacramento to do this for me when he noticed that no one else was offering – & it pissed him off. (though that is not *at all* why I wrote the posts & I don’t think I even implied it) & the largest fear I harbored was – what if we got there, and she wasn’t home? What if there were no answers found, what if the 12 hour trip for him was just to leave a note on her door?
As we pulled into the dirt driveway, I noticed her car there, the lights in the living room on. She was home. Ohshit. Here I go.
I walked slowly, willing my feet to take each step and trying not to think of anything. Whatever happens – well, that’s how it’s supposed to be… but damnit, ‘Verse – you’ve already made me strong enough, haven’t you? I mean – what the HELL do you have planned for my future if I need to be even stronger?
I could see her through the clear glass in her door – breaking crackers as she tried to spread cheese on them, and looking terrifyingly frail & weak. I waited what felt like an eternity before I knocked (though it was probably only about 30 seconds) and she turned towards the door, squinting. No lights on outside, I knew she could only see a reflection. She told me to come in…
Hey, ma… Surprise?
I walked over to her chair & crouched down in front of her. “So. What the fuck?”
We hashed it out over the hour – I did my best to try and make sure she knew how her lack of contact confused me, how much it ripped apart my fucking insides not knowing if she just decided to bag up her puppy & throw him in the river, or if it was something on her end. Something that was inside her keeping her from answering my messages or letters.
I could see she was in horrible shape – barely able to walk, had fallen twice in the past few weeks – hell, we even had matching black eyes. It hurt as I looked at her, how feeble she was, how fragile. I want to fix that. I want to fix everything for her.
She told me that was a large part of it – she had gone into a depression, hating getting older, and as the time increased it became more & more difficult to call or write…
I couldn’t help but softly chastise her, reminding her that she’s not the only player in this, and that she was being selfish as hell. I kept looking into her eyes, searching for something – I don’t know what. Maybe just comfort, understanding…
Most of the conversation was mundane talk about each others health, about my book, about my brother’s girlfriends good & bad. I don’t give a damn about my brother’s girlfriends… and me being me, I told her that. This moment was about us and what happened – and how it was going to be changed.
I gave her a pass this time – told her that it all begins again, right now and that she had better fucking call me – frequently.
And then, it was time to go. Kitty needed to make it back to Sacramento, I had to get back to Ruby.
I would like to feel more confident that something changed, that she will call, will write… but I’ll only know that in time. It will be even a greater time before I can trust her, before I begin taking my walls down again.
She slowly stood up from her chair, and we shared a long hug. I looked again into her eyes when we separated… and I think I saw whatever it was I was looking for, before I turned & walked out the door – looking back once as I shut it behind me.
The trip up there was more than necessary, and much of the pain inside was laid to rest inside of me – but not all.
We’ll see what happens.