I am sitting here in my living room. It is dark outside and there is a chill coming from the open back door, which leads to our back patio. A helicopter just passed overhead, the drone of its engine slowly fading into the distance. Cordelia, the corgi, is walking around the living room looking for a good spot to settle; her toenails clicking on the hardwood floors as she searches. The car sounds out front are starting to subside as people find their way home to dinner and television and kids with homework to do. Life is not much different no matter where you live. You still have to eat, work, sleep, and, hopefully, find people to love.
I came in search of the Promised Land when I moved to Los Angeles almost 30 years ago. Here for the sake of growth and risk and to help a brother who wanted his family nearby while he faced an illness that would kill him, but not before remembering that he was worthy of love.
That was the prize for coming here: seeing Jim’s face in his final days and the peace that replaced his constant bravado. Yes, that was worth all the difficulty of dealing with two less-than-stellar individuals Jim knew who eyed the empire he had built as hyenas eye their prey, ready to pounce once his strength surrendered to low T-cell counts and the succession of illnesses those numbers brought. Those were trying days.
I came in search of more and I found it: more people, more cars, more money – for some – and more expectations. Also, more picture-perfect days and more drives on Highway 1, gazing out on the Pacific Ocean. If there is one major reason I have remained, it is that ocean – aquamarine water and white caps that shimmer in the sun – and a determination to remain in a state that rewards risk-takers, recalcitrants, and renegades.
Somewhere along the way, I discovered those are my people.