For thirty years, I bounced around California.
I was never quite at home, despite being from there. I went north, south, up and down, in the middle and around.
I always felt I was searching for something that kept eluding my grasp. I lived in a paradise, so why couldn’t I find happiness?
Do you know that I never felt at home there?
Right around the time I met you, was when I started to feel at home in Tennessee.
It wasn’t because of you (I don’t think). There were a variety of factors that contributed to feeling “at home” after years of searching. I was leaving my chaotic twenties behind. I was laying down roots, starting a family, buying my first home, building friendships with other moms, and discovering a part of myself I had never known — a more compassionate, spiritual version of myself with a genuinely open mind and love for humanity.
But I do find the timing interesting.
It was just as I was starting to genuinely like myself and feel whole, when you came into the picture.
You really more came rushing into the picture, in the most confusing way. I’ll go more into the day we met later. You don’t seem to remember it, because it was just another night on the job for you, but for me it was an utter deviation.
California has begun to fade into the background, flickering like the reflection of a dream that vanishes upon awakening.
Don’t get me wrong, I led an incredible life in California. I went to the beach whenever I could, partied with rockstars and roadies, went to countless festivals, hiked in the mountains, basked in the sun, and embraced every experience imaginable. My youth has been nothing short of incredible.
Someday I might even tell you about the night my son was conceived. It was a magical evening in Santa Barbara next to the sea. It felt like a scene from a movie.
But my old life always lacked something.
I was a chameleon in California, adapting my skin whenever I needed to blend in. A shapeshifter.
I didn’t truly know myself. It made me angry sometimes, like I was living a lie.
And it took leaving everything I knew and loved behind to finally find the woman I was meant to be.
I want to tell you all about it — my life before you.
And I want to hear all about it — your life before me.
I’ve only gotten glimpses of who you were growing up. Gradually, you began to reveal morsels to me. But it isn’t enough. I want to know more. I want to know everything.
I want to stay up all night with you, tangled up in your arms while you run your hands down my body and tell me what made you the man you are. All night I want to lie with you, until the sounds of morning come in through an open window, and we realize the sunlight is peaking through the curtains.
I’ve never done that. Cared enough to keep listening for that long. A glimpse isn’t enough.
It’s like that tattoo you tease me with.
There’s a red and black eagle perched at the top of your chest — I would see it sometimes when your collar was low enough. I asked you about it one time when I was feeling brave.
“What’s going on here?” I said, almost grazing your exposed skin with my fingertips.
“You have to pay extra to see that,” you chided me playfully, making a quick exit.
And it bothers me that I do want to see it. Badly.
But I can’t afford it.
God, tell me what I need to do to afford it.