Sunday, September 25, 2005

Mama, I'm Comin' Home...

(Music of the period - Ozzy: No More Tears)

My roommates & I threw one last party as a going-away event for me. Everyone was sad to see me go, and I was sad to be leaving them, as well. Not sad enough to snap back to reality, but they were all good people, and I was lucky to have met them. One of the guys hooked me up with handful of joints for the ride home, and Misty gave me a peck on the cheek and told me to come back & see her sometime. My friend & other roommate Keith & I had bonded pretty well in the short time I had been there, and we traded jackets with each other, assuring ourselves that it was just a loan until we saw each other next time. I never saw any of my friends from Colorado again. Tyson, Keith, Dave, James, Kelsie, Emily, Misty, Candace, Shawn, Jo, Amy, Mike, Josh; it was great knowing you guys, wherever you are.

I left for home two days before Thanksgiving, in the face of one of the biggest snowstorms in years. The drive over the mountains alone took me over 12 hours, as the snow-chain law was in effect and traffic was slowed to a crawl, with stalled & stuck cars lined up on the side of the road as far as the eye could see. I figured once I got over the mountains, it would all be smooth sailing and I could make up some lost time. I got as far as Kansas before I was hit with a solid sheet of white.

Being born & raised in the south, where schools close & the city goes on high alert whenever so much as a flurry is forecast, I was unaware of the fact that, out west in the flatlands, they actually have to close off the freeways sometimes when the snow gets too heavy, I mean with big gates & everything. So, I took the last exit right at the gates & found myself at the Price-Right Motel, in a town called Oakley, Kansas. I'll never forget the place 'til my dying day, because that's where I spent my Thanksgiving; sitting on a bed in the middle of a tiny motel room, blanket wrapped around me because the in-wall heater was older than my grandmother, eating a Swanson's frozen dinner, kindly donated to me by the hotel owner; apparently I was the only occupant, and thank god he gave me a break on the room rate, because I was stuck there for three nights. Three long nights to sit and ponder just what in the hell I was doing, but of course being alone in that cold, isolated little wood-paneled hotel room only made me miss Kara even more. I thought about how I was going to surprise her when I got back; I must have played out a hundred different scenarios in my head...none of which even came close to resembling what actually ended up happening.

My favorite scenario was that I would stop by Joe's house on the way back, and borrow his dad's car phone (this was 1992, and car phones - which is what we called them then - were a very rare sight), drive to her house, and call her. I would ask her if she remembered when I asked her what she would do if I were to just show up at her doorstep, and then I would knock on the door, and she would open it, and then the music would start playing & the camera would pan up & out, and yadda yadda yadda...but then I remembered the whole thing about Joe sleeping with Kara, and that plan got filed away pretty quick.

Another one was; she would be sitting out on the swing in their front yard, just out reading in the middle of the day, when I would park a block away and sneak up behind her. I'd look down at what she was reading, think of something clever to say & she would turn around, yell with delight, toss the book away & leap into my arms, knocking me down as we rolled around in the grass and kissed. Ya, I know...shoot me. I had a lot of time to daydream in that hotel room...

Finally I escaped from Kansas & headed back on my way East. The rest of the trip was uneventful, but one thing I do remember is, as I got a couple hundred miles from home, being overwhelmed by how green everything was. I mean, I had grown up in the south & had looked at those hills & fields my whole life, but until I had been out west, I had never realized just how lush & beautiful the part of the country that I live in really is. I mean, the West has it's own kind of beauty, but it's very brown; very earth-toned. If you live up north or out west somewhere & you've never been to Georgia, or Kentucky, or Tennessee, or the Carolinas, its something that you just can't imagine until you see it with your own eyes; the whole land here is just alive & rich & vibrant like no other place I've ever seen. I remember cresting a ridge and seeing this huge, magnificent wave of green coming toward me on the horizon, and I knew I was coming home.

I arrived two days after I had intended, at about 5 in the morning. I went to my grandmother's house first, and after she doted on me for a few minutes & made me some oatmeal, I lied down on the sofa and fell right to sleep. I woke up at about 3 that afternoon, and after calling my mom & saying hello, I grabbed my cigarettes & took the phone outside on the patio to call Kara. I didn't know exactly what I was going to say, but I couldn't wait any longer.

The following conversation happened verbatim; I remember it like it was yesterday. Some 'um's & 'ah's might be missing, but the gist of it is completely accurate, so yes, you're reading it right.

KARA: Hello?

ME: Hello....

KARA: Hi.

ME: How are you doing?

KARA: Oh, you know.

ME: Um, I guess so. Man, I can hear you great, this is a good connection.

KARA: You sound like you always do.

ME: Oh, well you sound closer.

KARA: (silence, but I can tell you exactly what she was doing: playing with her hair & picking at the split ends, completely oblivious to everything else in the world. I'd have bet my life on it)

ME: So, guess where I am?

KARA: I don't know, where are you?

ME: Just guess.

KARA: I don't know...um, John Denver's house? (in a story I didn't relate, while I was in Colorado, through a complicated set of circumstances, I once found myself smoking pot at the house of Mel Schacter, former bass player with Grand Funk Railroad; it's a long story, but I had told Kara about it earlier, which explains her John Denver remark, as he would be the only other musician she would know from Colorado...even though I think Denver was from Idaho or something. Anyway...)

ME: Nope. I'm at my grandmother's house.

KARA: (after a brief pause) You're where?

ME: I'm here; I'm home.

KARA: You mean you're here?

ME: Yeah. I came to see you. Can I come over?

KARA: (Pause) Well, I'm about to go to a movie.


Yes, you read that right; hence the disclaimer above.


ME: You're....you're what?

KARA: Laurie's here, and we're about to go meet Ashley at the movie.....

ME: Ok...um, I just drove almost three thousand miles, and I was stuck in a snowstorm for...

KARA: (interrupting) X, (she always called me by my initial) what do you want me to do? They're here waiting for me, I didn't know you were gonna come home! You can come over in a couple of hours, ok?

ME: (silence. I was just stunned at this point. Suffice it to say that this is not how I'd expected things to go. I was just barely holding back tears.)

KARA: Ok?

ME: Ok, I mean...what else can I do.

KARA: Ok, I'll call you, ok? Are you gonna be there?

ME: No, call me at my mom's house.

KARA: Ok, I will.

ME: Ok.

KARA: (in her trying-to-appease-me-yet-still-agitated voice) I'm glad you're home safe, ok?

ME: Thank you. Ok, call, alright?

KARA: Ok, bye.

ME: Bye.

*click*

I hung up the phone & the floodgates let loose. I stood outside for a minute 'til the worst of it subsided, then I went in to grab my things. I kissed my grandma on the cheek, told her I was heading to my mom's house, and drove off.

I could not believe what had just happened. I mean, I knew I was a chump to even be pursuing this girl in the first place, and I was certainly used to her being the most unpredictable creature I had ever seen, and I also knew that, while she might love me, she was not as crazy in love with me as I was with her - all these things I was used to & prepared for. but, even with all her....kookyness, I knew there had to be some reason for what had just happened; she should have been happy for me to be home even in spite of herself...as I said before, she was just that way. I knew in my gut that something was up, and I knew there were only a few possibilities; the most likely of which being that she had a guy over when I called.

I knew it was possible; hell she wasn't exactly exclusive to me while I was here, and now I'd been gone for months...plenty of time for somebody else to drift through her short attention span. I wondered if it might be Joe, but I knew from other friends that Joe had a new girlfriend now, and although he & Kara were on speaking terms again, they were definitely over in that respect. So, basically, after driving for five days, and being stranded for three of them, and spending Thanksgiving alone in a god-forsaken hotel in the buckle of the corn belt just so I could see her, I still had to sit there like a chump and wait on her.

I got to my moms & we did the whole hugging bit, and I got to see my little brother & was amazed at how much he had grown, all of which made me feel better for a few minutes, but as it turns out, I didn't have to wait as long as I thought; after about an hour, the phone rang, and it was Kara.

She was sorry she had hurried off the phone like that; her friends were there, and she did have to leave but she was also freaked out that I had just come home to see her, so she panicked. But, after they left for the movie, she told them that I was home, so they ended up not seeing the movie, and instead just went to get something to eat while talking about me the whole time, I assume. This at least relieved the pressure on my heart before my mom had to call an ambulance, but it still wasn't at all the way I wanted to start things off. Nevertheless, as I'm sure you realize by now, where she was concerned I would take whatever I could get. So, after all this time, I finally hopped in my car to go see her.

When I got there, I was greeted by her family & spent a minute telling them about my trip. Her little sister was glad to see me, as always, and I remember wishing I had brought her & her little brother back a little gift or something. When I got back to Kara's room, she was lying on her bed, wearing her xtra-large blue t-shirt that she liked to lounge in with pair of cut-off jean shorts, and I remember the contrast of the light blue against the dark tan of her legs & thinking that she was the single hottest thing I had ever seen in my life. She got up, put her arms around my neck & hugged me, then we looked at each other and she said "Hi.", and I ran my hands up into her hair, puller her to me and kissed her.

I kissed her for as long as she'd let me, and when she moved away, she looked at me and said "Why did you come back?"

I knew that I had better choose what I said carefully. I could tell she was freaked out by me showing up all of a sudden, and I guess anyone would probably be, to a point. I could tell she was happy to see me (Kara wore her emotions like a neon sign), but I could also tell that she knew what I was thinking, and it made her nervous. I, in turn, knew what she was thinking, so I reassured her by saying "I just felt like it was time to come home; I missed my family, and I missed you, and I missed my friends, so don't worry; I didn't come back to ask you to marry me or anything." It was mostly true.

She seemed to relax a little bit, but then she immediately launched into the standard Kara disclaimer - you guys might know it by now: Ok, I'm glad you're home, and yes, I missed you, and yes, I missed kissing you and all the rest of it, but I didn't ASK you to come back, so don't think that just because you're here and we might kiss & do this & that one in a while that automatically you're my boyfriend or anything yet, and yadda, yadda, yadda....

(also, I should take this opportunity to say that I've gotten a lot of comments about Kara, and I understand how Kara might seem like a cold person when some of the things I write are taken at face value and not having 'been there', but truth is she really was a good person; she had been in only one 'real' relationship before & had gotten her heart broken every bit as bad as Andi broke mine, if not worse, so she was simply a little more careful with her feelings & who she gave her heart to than most girls her age. She was also blunt, outspoken, and honest to a fault, so she pulled no punches. At the other extreme, when she trusted you & cared about you, she was as sweet as she was beautiful...which was considerable. Most of the things she did that I used to consider mean were really just the actions of a frustrated young girl with extraordinary freewill who just didn't know what she wanted, and just happened to end up breaking my heart in the process. I know she never meant to hurt me, and to this day, as far as I know, Kara never lied to me one single time.)

I was prepared for that; I'd heard it a million times. I was also foolish enough at that point to think I could change all that, so I just nodded, like I always did, and waited for my chance to kiss her again, which, after a few minutes, I got.

We spent the rest of that night together, with me doing my old routine of leaving through her front door at bedtime & sneaking back in through the bathroom window after the coast was clear (there's a song about that...). After we got over the shock of the first few minutes, it was like I had never left; she & I always got along so effortlessly & naturally that we were laughing & talking in no time like a day hadn't passed. Then, after a while, we made love as quietly as we could in her squeaky little single bed, and it was unbelievable; I remember the way she smelled & the way her skin felt, and how I realized I had missed things about her that I had taken for granted before...things like the way she moved, and the sounds she would make under her breath, and the way she held on to me. Everything I had gone through in the past week to get there was worth every moment of it.

I got up to leave before the sun came up. I stood in the doorway of her bathroom, ready to hop up onto her toilet to boost myself out the window, and I bent down to kiss her before I left. I told her that I had missed her, and she said she had missed me, too. Then I said "I love you", and she just kissed me on the cheek & said "X, you know I love you, too...but I'm not gonna say I love you like that, not yet".

I said "yet?", and she said "I'm not gonna say that 'til I feel like 'm ready to say it. If I'm ready to say it, you'll know, I promise."

It wasn't much, but it was good enough. Hell, anything would have been good enough for me back then. I climbed out the window, jumped into my still-packed car and headed back to crash on my mom's sofa. I was right back where I started...

7 Comments:

Blogger Ana recalled...

Even tho that night was like any other night with Kara i'm guessing that you felt deep sadness inside you when you left. I'm also guessing and this is from personal expreience that deep down you knew nothing would really change even though you hoped beyond hope that it would once you got back from Colorado.
Yet as you left her house you still had a tinsy bit of hope coz after all she said "yet" and for a period of time you hung on to that word for dear life
Am i right?

If i am then i know exactly what your going through. 3 words my friend NEVER ENDING CYCLE.
Keep loving her thats all i can say and i'm pretty sure you do. The heart wants what it wants and this is also based on personal expeierence but i'm guessing (i guess a lot) ur justification was "well id rather live in love limbo and misery with Kara then alone and happy without kara ... no just alone coz without kara there is no happiness " right?

Sunday, September 25, 2005 7:37:00 AM  
Blogger Manda recalled...

i know exactly what you mean about the south being so green, and Colorado being so "earthy." i love Colorado so much but i couldn't live there for a long period of time just because of the dryness. i felt like a shriveling peach last time i went out! :-)

don't ya just hate that feeling of someone dragging you through the mud, and it's all your fault, because you let them??? Kara may be sweet, but she is selfish too!

Sunday, September 25, 2005 8:09:00 AM  
Blogger Mint Tulip recalled...

I don't think Kara was mean...I've just known a lot of girls (and several guys) like her...They're just too high maitenence for my taste.

As for the greenness...I live in KY right next to all the horses and green rolling hills...and you couldn't pay me to move somewhere moutainy! Sucks that you got stuck in a snowstorm in Kansas--especially for Thanksgiving.

Good luck with the radio show thing---whichever way you decide to go on it!

Sunday, September 25, 2005 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Christa recalled...

Wow. You are a glutton for punishment. Great story, and you tell it superbly. (Is that a word?) You are so gonna get your heart yanked out. And stomped on. How old is Kara? If that's not too nosey? I know that many times we can't control the strong feelings we have for people we are connected to, but where your ex-girlfriends are concerned, please remember that you deserve to be loved as fiercely truly as you love others.

Sunday, September 25, 2005 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger chick recalled...

hmmm my ex should read this.
he would think u r talking about me. lol

Sunday, September 25, 2005 1:22:00 PM  
Blogger bled*dry recalled...

i like the fact that we have the same damn blog layout. and its nice to read about stuff that has some substance ie not about where u went shopping today and all that other sh*t pple like to write about. you're an addition to my faves list. the cyber world needs more blogs like yours.

Sunday, September 25, 2005 2:44:00 PM  
Blogger michellesarah recalled...

It's good to know guys feel like that too!

Although it seemed like Kara was blowing you off when you called her when you got back, she did absolutely have a point about not knowing that you were heading back. She already had plans with her girlfriends. You should be proud of loving a girl who has loyalty to those around her - she wasn't about to ditch them just because you beckoned!

Monday, September 26, 2005 4:47:00 AM  

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