1995 Escarpa

My father tilts his head back, teeth to sky, laughing from his gut at nothing in particular. He pulls me towards him and I suck in my breath, a reflex I picked up at sixteen, when I convinced myself that this might possibly prevent the flagrant scent of Camel Lights from floating off my hair towards his nicotine-sensitive olfactory. But he doesn’t say anything; he just gives me a hard look and shakes me lightly by my shoulders, almost affectionately, as if to say that I’ll probably turn out just fine after all. I want to tell him thanks, but I am still holding my breath, and plus I think he knows. He climbs into the driver’s seat, key in ignition, hands at ten and two, foot slowly off break, bouncing down Escarpa Drive and back towards Burbank, away from the house that promises to hum and glow with wild wild life for the next scholastic year.
My eyes follow his rent-a-van until it disappears and I swivel shakily in the direction of 1995 Escarpa. I hate goodbyes, and I don’t want to think about this one. The nostalgia that I keep carefully balled-up and tucked away from my rationality throbs with the bittersweet knowledge that my father’s departure signals the ultimate dissolution of parental authority. It will only dribble on for the next year in the form of regular deposits into my bank account and twenty minute conversations every three weeks. The last distant hum of wheels on road confirm it, I am pretty fucking free.
I shuffle my feet toward the 1960s art deco house. Set atop skinny legs into the hill, its wide balconies reach out for the hub of Eagle Rock that hugs Occidental College. The door slams hard behind me, and Glendale glitters menacingly in the distance and the freeway ribs the hills to the north. The building is peeling from the outside and decaying from the inside, but the windows are huge and the carpets are so clean and it smells like possibilities and parties and sex. As an underclassman, I watched college students love it hard year after year, only to abandon it reluctantly in exchange for responsibility or meaning or cash or home. Now it’s ours, and real life is quickly encroaching. The “prospects” that have always glittered in the eyes of our upper-middle class parents are finally gaining in on us. But we continue to push them to the corner of our consciousnesses, and they still tick like semi-explosive piles, just a little more threateningly than they always have. I let my toes sink into the still-damp carpet and breath in afternoon, bathing in the California day glow that pours through the single stained glass panel. But I have a whole year that’s going to be gone in a blink, and I know it, but I’ll take it, because rushing will never be my style.

1995 Escarpa

Galen

Joined November 2007

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