Whew! I’m no longer at the temple. But I should start from the temple. Because my life changed under those Nebraska skies, and since I helped put the final touches on the ring that binds that temple that stands for building a home inside oneself, I’ve traveled 3,000 miles in my trusty ’03 Civic (2,743 to be conservative, not counting a few two hour trips to various airports). All those miles: to build a home with a man I love, a man who has become the first home in my adult life I can honestly say is mine and feels mine.
Get it? It’s like a metaphor and a foreshadowing rolled up into a long aluminum thematic tube.
I’ve been back to Denver, where I packed up all my things including a year’s worth of composition books.
I said goodbye to Nancy Drew, Mr. Drew and Wild Boo, goodbye to my Denver family Starlily and Starman, and their cat, Potato, who has become my second cat friend. Goodbyes were bittersweet but I was not torn. For the first time in my life, I am not confused about where I need to be, and so I drove for three days, through Kansas wind turbines, Missouri’s erratic freeway drivers, through a swath of Indiana’s sweet smelling grass and heavy pink sunsets, Kentucky’s BBQ and smoke scented nights, into green hills of West Virginia and then a week later south, south through Richmond and Nashville and Montgomery and a place called Cullman, whose orange rolls are among the 100 things you must eat in Alabama before you die, and onward, south, south, south, back to that place I can’t shake, on the bumpy toes of southern Louisiana.
All to be with this man who came to the Art Farm to weld and to tell me he loves me. Oh, and while he was there, he also moved a couple of these steel beams.
Earlier this spring my Uncle Keith said to me, “a person can see things outside of what he sees with the eyes.” At the time, I was parked in the lot of Denver’s Cherry Creek Whole Foods, after trying to use a combination of my charm and good manners to convince the seafood counter manager I could learn to filet fish. It was Uncle Keith’s birthday, so after my failed attempt at grocery employment, I bought a cup of coffee to console myself–Uncle Keith loves his black–and I called him from the comfort of my Civic on that crisp Denver morning to wish him happy birthday and to settle into what is always heartening conversation on the phone with my Uncle.
When he said the thing about seeing things outside of your eyes, he was talking about extraterrestrials. It’s a long story that involves a memory of a certain drive-in movie fifty years ago, UFO’s, and his mother. Like I said, it’s a long story. But the point is that his statement about seeing things outside of your eyes stuck with me. At the time I thought I knew what he meant; I thought I did–what’s so hard to understand? I’m a writer, I’m always on the lookout for cool phrases that poke at the unknown, I get it, it’s deep. But I understood it only as far as I understood things as a person who did not have a piece of her heart walking around outside of her body. I didn’t. In order to really understand that statement, I first had to fall in love with a deep sea diver, in the middle of a cornfield in Nebraska.