Southern California

She said she would leave the door open for me.  I walk into the familiar sound of Jackson’s four year old voice, as I quietly enter.  Stella, the yellow lab that is the “third blonde sister”  doesn’t bark.  Over a year ago, when I first met Sybil, the owner of the front door that I am entering now, Stella didn’t bark.  It was like I belonged then, and I still belong.  It feels good to belong.  Somewhere.

I remind Sybil of her daughter Rachael, who is only a few years older than me.  Sybil, this wonderful woman became my second Mom during the year that I rented the downstairs room in her home.  Her home became my home.  I would bounce in and out of my Hermosa Beach life in same typical speed that I move and travel now, but I had a stability and rest that my life currently lacks.  My favorite times were of coming back from work, still in uniform, and Sybil and I would catch up, standing in the kitchen, as I animatedly told of passenger stories or cute boy craziness.  She would laugh and say, “Oh, my Kara.”

That’s probably what I miss most, are these moments with Sybil.  I miss my life in Southern California.  I miss sitting on the couch and watching TV with her.  I miss knowing Dave, The Dog Walker, will arrive every morning around 9am, and again in the evening.  I miss baking and cooking vegan food, and testing it out on whoever would walk in and out of the front door.  I miss knowing every day would be a certain way, that the people around me were always going to be there, in a predictable fashion.

I think in some way, Sybil’s Hermosa Beach house will always be my home.  My bike still lodges in the garage.  This morning, as I was out with a good friend, catching up over coffee, Sybil called.  She told me that she was going out to breakfast, but that I wouldn’t be locked out.  She paused and then said, “Honey, you should have a key.  Just in case you get stuck in LA sometime, and I am not home.  You need a key.”  When my friend asked what I am up to as we prepare to part ways, I say, “I’m gonna walk home.”  My heart feels happy, to have a place, and broken that I have to leave.

Sybil’s love, wise words, and hugs bring me back.  I call her crying when my life seems to be falling apart, asking, “Sybil, can I please come home?  I need you.”  “Sweetie, you are always welcome.  You don’t have to ask.”  Her home is more home than my parent’s house.  My parents, dad a pilot, mom a dietitian turned flight attendant are always gone.  I sometimes run into them randomly at airports in various states, but Sybil is a constant comfort, a stable place.  She calms me down.  She gives me a different perspective than my very Religious upbringing.  She is a light to my life, and are paths colliding was something I needed then.  I just never knew I would still need her so much.  That I would have such strong ties to Los Angeles, a place I said that I would hate living in before I moved to the sprawling metropolis.

Southern California is where I grew as an individual, where I began flying, where I started my blog.  So much of my life, my church, my friends, and my heart is in this place.  I have a dull ache knowing that I can’t stay.  Not now.  Not yet.  Maybe not ever again.  I say my thank you’s that I have a place that I feel that I belong, even when I personally don’t have an address of my own.  My friends are good to me, my family adores me, and I am, although alone in much that I do on a daily basis, I am never really alone.  Ever.

Right now, I want last year back, when riding my bike in the Palos Verdes hills was my typical morning.  When I had Sybil’s hugs every day.  When life included a lot more sleep.  Last night, after going to dinner with Sybil, Rachael, and the kids, little Jackson said goodbye to me, and then gave Sybil a hug.  “Meme,” he said,  “I don’t want to go because I will miss you.”  Sybil, in her quiet, sweet way said, “But Jackson.  I will see you again.  Sometimes we have to say goodbye so we can appreciate the times that we are together more.  I love you.”


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