Driving around the corner on 665 in Annapolis, into the late summer afternoon sunlight the memory returned.
The feeling of coming home, being home after a long trip, it was a moment filled with a deep and powerful feeling. Add a memory of that feeling many years ago, a memory that I haven’t considered deeply, I always thought it was a simply a silly story about something my teen-aged self did.
Let’s roll on back to the summer of 1979. when Sunny D was a cool drink and I had only seen it in California – which made it far more special.
I was 18, I had a fast car, friends of questionable intent, and clearly wasn’t making the best choices. One summer day, we decided to go on vacation. California sounded good, and off we drove from New York, four of us in my two seater car. We saw the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest. We got lost, stayed in a dive hotel, acted stupid, and generally had an adventure.
|my 280z 1977?|
Looking back from a parent’s eyes, oh yea, they had every reason to be upset with us, and they were. It all worked out somewhat poorly for me. I ended up driving home from California by myself. That was a rough trip that I remember little of, I do remember the cop on a dark empty road in Texas though. He tailgated me, nudging me faster until I sped up to get away from him, and then, pulled me over, I got a ticket. I had New York plates, of course he did.
Back on the east coast, I was stranded in Virginia for a night, needing a place to sleep and gas money, in a world without cell phones, atms, or venmo. A priest friend of a friend of my Mother’s took me in, fed me, and sent me off with enough for gas and a couple of sandwiches. That last day I drove from Virginia back to New York. Another long drive, after so many others, I remember feeling so awful, even my teeth hurt.
It was early in that late August evening when I reached town, and the sun was setting imperceptibly earlier. I remember the angle of the light as I came into town, it was warm, it was golden. The sunlight was a part of the feeling of arriving home. Being home. Safely home. Home.
My thoughts were not on these big concepts, I had been alone for days and I wanted my friends to know I was back. Calling didn’t seem like a good plan.
Instead, I rolled up out front of the high school and tossed all the empty bottles of Sunny Delight that had been rolling around in the car onto the lawn.
They would know I was home simply by seeing the Sunny D.
Recently in the mornings I have been thinking about how I want to feel today, instead of what I want to do today. The feeling of home has so many wonderful layers, it is warm and soft and welcoming.
I’m home again now, home is in Maryland, interestingly this memory and the feeling of coming home showed up as I arrived home after driving Sarah to college.