Coming down from Forks

Its a long straight freeway all the way to LA. I could just take the I-5 and land in downtown LA. When I left Forks, Washington last night, I really didn’t want to leave. But there wasn’t anything left for me there. Bella and Jacob were long gone. Edward was telling his story in the late evening and he too finished abruptly as if he knew I had to get on with my life. I couldn’t stay there forever, even if that word means a blimp on the time space continuum for them. They stay like unchanging chess pieces moving strategically in relation with each other, but always moved by someone else’s hand. Their shadows stand in the little sunshine that filters through and reminds me of the fleeting nature of fiction. Today this, tomorrow something else. I am sure they have seen everyone move on. Then why is it getting so difficult for me to get in to the car and drive away?

Why am I not satisfied with the CD of Bella’s lullaby running time and again through the car’s speakers? Is it because I know it is over and there is absolutely no way the action can be rekindled? Is it because like old friends, they are ready to move on and give me my own space? But, what if I don’t want the space? What if I want to be in rain soaked, cold and dense Washington?

I pass Olympia and think if it is too late to turn back. Will they be there if I go back? The whole family? Or will they disappear like a mirage made by the dewey air drenched with expectation? I think I should keep moving. If nothing, the distance I put between us will save me.

With Portland comes a break. I have been driving for 3 hours non stop and stop to say good bye to Washington. I don’t think I can bear to go back anytime soon. Oregon goes by in a flash with denial and wistfulness clouding the endless freeway. Now comes to major part of the journey: California. It will be some time before I hit the blazing sunshine of Los Angeles . I could probably swim in the feel of Forks, breathe in the misty air that is still stuck in my car and rerun the lullaby that I now know by heart till then. San Francisco has never been anything but cold and misty when I have been there. Maybe it will give me the false sense of delusion that I need now.

Am I there already? I have been driving only for around 3 hours. How could I have reached LA? And if it is not LA, why is it so sunny? My car shows the outside temperature at 80 degrees. And my GPS confirms it is SanFran. Just when you think California could not surprise you, it reaches up and knocks you in the face. Kind of reminds me of Nessy. (Longing sigh!)

Maybe I should not think about it much. The sun may clear out the mist I have been carrying in my head. Am I ready to let go?

I open the window slightly, just to let the Cal breeze in. It whooshes in along with a lot of grit from the I-5. I yearn for the peaceful quiet of Forks. The noise, the honks, the racing Harleys and the flying bandanas don’t feel welcome in my world.

But I need to let go. Just then the crescendo builds up in the song and my heart skips a beat. I am waiting to go try it out on the grand piano by the entrance. But would that make Forks come to LA? Probably not. Would LA remain gloomy, being June and all? Probably not. Can I let go? Probably not.

California is a really stretched out long state. They promise me the route will be scenic. Are they kidding? How scenic can it get for someone who was dunked in nature’s beauty for 2 whole weeks?

But with the sunlight comes clarity. Life’s reality shines through. Somewhere near Coalinga I remember that this place houses a customer of a client. Life skills, prisons, welfare, state budget…real real things that cannot be washed down with a gulp of wet Washington air. I pass Lost Hills and snicker at what that would mean to me. Maybe that was my perfect spot in the world. In the middle of nowhere, but still right in the middle. Kern County has more recollections of real life. We had planned to go trekking or camping here. Family life, friends, outdoors, exercise…more real things. I cross Frazier park. Frazier…Frasier…Seattle…Washington. Dang it! Not going there again. Let’s try again. Frazier…Frasier…Kelsey Grammar…Spencer Grammar…Greek…Casey..Cappie…Max…Monday nights…watching Greek with Calf…missed an episode…need to catch up.

Suddenly the pull of LA feels stronger than the weak throb of Forks. I have crossed Santa Clarita and am heading at full speed towards SanFrenando Valley. That is technically already Los Angeles. As I take the ramp up to the 101 freeway and see the I-5 twisting away in the rear view mirror, I say a final good bye to the dreamy city which had me for the last fortnight.

No stopping now. I reach my apartment just as the afternoon sun is beginning to boil. The last vestiges of my vacation have been fumed out by the scorching blaze. The ghosts of Bella, Jacob and Nessy evaporate in my peripheral vision. Now it is just me and I am going back to life people! Back to sunny reality. And the story of life.

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