The first real fight I ever had with my best friend. We were 11, on the school bus on our way home from school. She called me a bitch and I retorted that a bitch was just a female dog, like my own pet, and she couldn’t hurt my feelings. Inside though, I was shaking with anger I would later identify as hurt, and with confusion that would peek its head out anytime anyone was mean to me.
The Saturday or Sunday afternoon my parents told my brother and me they were divorcing. The Saturday or Sunday my dad hired movers to move into a one-bedroom apartment four blocks away. The Saturday or Sunday my mom would decide to move my brother and me out to small-town-Connecticut. The Saturday or Sunday I would think my dad wasn’t fighting for me.
The Saturday or Sunday I learned he did fight, hard, and lost.
Whatever night it was that my brother called me crying, in a depression so deep and so low I thought I might actually lose him. Whatever night it was that my mom called me crying, telling me we almost did lose my youngest stepsister. Whatever night it was that my best friend called me crying, sobbing into the phone that we did lose her boyfriend’s dad.
The night my college roommate confided in me her struggle with anorexia the year before. The night the same college roommate confronted me with genuine concern and understanding about my own hazardous eating habits.
A summer afternoon when I accidentally picked up my friend’s vibrator. It was in a makeup case on her window sill.
Those days I left Boise, Chicago, Brookfield, Gettysburg, New York City. Those days I arrived in Chicago, Brookfield, Gettysburg, New York City, and finally, Los Angeles.
The day, most recently, that I realized I’d reached yet another horizon when I felt at home in the California sun, when I felt in my core, yes, yes, this is the right place.