I'm driving in my convertible
, the top is down because it's a tepid, palatable September evening in Northern California
. The convertible is there because it is Los Gatos
, and in order to be a seventeen year-old girl and own a brand new convertible, one must live in an affluent, predominantly white suburb. One must also slowly come to live the truth that nothing else exists but this place, and occasionally Santa Cruz
30 minutes South and San Francisco
45 minutes North.
I have lived here forever. I have just said goodbye to two of my best friends. One was mad at me because she always kind of is. The other was mad at me because I had indirectly contributed to her spraining her ankle the night prior to this one, which would ultimately render her unable to go on her Harvard backpacking trip. Both were mad at me because I had shortened my meeting with them to have dinner with The Boy.
I am driving up University Avenue. Tomorrow there will be more avenues for me, grander avenues, avenues preceeded by the words "Fifth" and "Madison". Though, I personally, will become most intimately related with Fourth. Broader streets. Broad Street. Broadway.
Radiohead's "The Bends" is doing heavy damage to my hearing and disrupting the residential street. Suddenly I'm reminded of, of all things, a car commercial. I think it's for Infinity or Acura Integra or something with an I. There's a gritty, confrontational, man's man narrator saying, "Are you ready for something you've always wanted?"
No. Not even close. My flight leaves in six hours and I haven't even packed my bags. Haven't wrapped up the DVD player or the Playstation. Haven't gotten my winter coat out of the basement. Haven't done anything but smoke, write, think about The Boy, and smoke. And that's just the tip of the iceberg with regard to my unreadiness. We're not even beginning to address all the baggage that doesn't get checked at the counter.
I pull over on the periphery of Blossom Hill Park and light another cigarette. I'm not ready to go home because I'm not ready to leave. I'm not ready to see it again because I know that's the last impression that's going to be achingly seared into my mind for months to come. And I don't want to see it right now because I know how much smaller my dorm shall be by comparison.