You Can Never go Home Again III Double Life series
Deer and More from the Present Day
So much time had passed since the ‘dreams.’ Years, actually. I hadn’t thought about this lengthy episode, which threatened to overtake all else of importance in my life at the time, in a very very long time. Now, years have passed; and today I find myself thinking “its as if the strange phenomenon had never really happened. Had it“? I dug deep into my memory of ten, 12 years ago. Has it been that long? Oh my God! So long ago that I found I’d forgotten the scary details, the burning questions, the frightening events surrounding the recurring dream. It’s almost like a dream, really…so long ago and far away.
It’s morning in my beautiful California home, the one with the 360 surround visuals of nature in her glory.. Outside my bedroom window are the two fragile, beautiful creatures who have chosen to take refuge in my back yard. A doe and her fawn; safe and protected among the huge bay and oak trees, with ample selections of delicious things to eat. Daily, I pick apples from the volunteer tree in my front yard, sneak into the double fenced back to place the tasty morsels a little ways from my bedroom windows so that I can watch the mother and child munch merrily. What gorgeous animals these are. Nearby, there is a stainless steel pail with fresh water, changed daily, available constantly so that these two won’t need to wander far. For, just beyond my property line is a well traveled country road where drivers don’t pay much attention to speed limits or dancing deer. Here, in my domain; they are safe. In fact, I’m pretty sure the fawn was born on the lower level of this land, near the seasonal creek.
I’m here, in the N. California home I dearly love, on business and pleasure. In a semi cross country move which is taking several trips and lots of time and energy to complete, I have traveled this time solo; with a huge list of items which must be addressed before the rest of the clan can come home, too. My days are spent trying to juggle many balls while I navigate my way through the maze of obstacles which keep on popping up! My damn ATT cell service keeps quitting! The brakes on my car keep locking! I just lost my favorite book of the moment by Kathy Reichs…left on the roof of my car as I rushed off to a meeting to discuss roof work on the cabin in back of the big house. Thinking I’d be waiting…waiting..waiting before actually being able to meet w/my appointment, I’d hastily placed purse and book on the car, promptly jumped in forgetting I’d done so, and drove off. A mile down the road, my purse did a slow slide down the back window…”What! What was that?” I thought it was a tree branch or leaping lizard! (not really the lizard!). No, when I pulled over, it was my purse…with cash and ID and cell phone (not working!! But there’s always hope down the road!), lists, more lists, keys to the downtown house, notes to self, and the kitchen sink!
Well, I was able to retrieve all of these things with no loss but, sadly, I think Kathy; the other Kathy; bailed at 35mph; never to be seen again! Damn! I awoke this morning wanting to read a little after a morning walk and realized that my book wasn’t where I thought it should be! Searching all the rooms, nooks and crannies of this sprawling house, I soon realized that the text I enjoy immensely, was nowhere to be found. I retraced my steps of yesterday which conjured up the image of placing the book on the roof of the car….then, my memory of said tome, is a blank after that. So, another jaunt up and down my street, onto the oft traveled high speed country road which runs behind my home and, eventually, into town; alas…no Kathy Reichs! I’m jonesing!!! Big Time!~
Morning chores, phone calls and Hub Pages updates taken care of (well, the latter is never taken care of as there are so many great articles by fantastic writers…comments to be made…there is never enough time..but I try!!) the next several hours are open and available for more personal pursuits. I decide to go into town to check on my beautifully restored Victorian home that my friend Al and I worked so diligently on; returning it to its former grandeur!
While heading towards town, the thought occurred, without any discernable prompting, that “wouldn’t it be interesting to drive by my old apartment.” Where and why this idea sprung to mind I have no idea but, ’what the heck,’ may as well! This is when memories of the dream came flooding back. I chose to delay the ‘drive by’ for a day or so, when I’d have a clean slate with nothing to distract me. I opted to head into Old Town, where my downtown home is located. As I approached the Y option in the street; go left to Old Town or right to down town, an almost imperceptible influence began to direct me. Driving East on First street, I automatically (!); without volunteering to, turned right, heading into downtown which, in a somewhat circuitous route, would lead me right on to Randolph Street, and deposit me directly in front of ‘the house.’
Propelled by forces unseen, all of a sudden, as if being transported in time and space, I find myself parked across the street positioned with a perfect, unobstructed view of the turn of the century residential domicile. Along with feelings of trepidation is a sense of being washed over; enveloped, with a warm, welcoming essence. Soothing. A physical interpretation of the statement, ‘everything is ok, all is fine; you are home.’
Slowly, after having remained in the car for I don’t know how long, I open the door and step from the security of my vehicle. It’s funny, sometimes, how the slightest bit of the ‘known’ seems to grow in importance and with a feeling of protection when the occasion calls for it. At this exact place and time, the thought of my car feels like a life saving, familiar, (and should I choose to quickly jump back inside), enclosure. Of course, given the present state of affairs, it is obvious that my automobile could not really afford me any real protection. But, our minds allow us this momentary safety net when there seems to be nothing else available at that instant in time.
Emerging from the imagined safety of my car, I walk across the street so that I will end up standing face to face with my home of yesteryear.
“What a beautiful place this is! I so love the wrap around porch…the beautifully detailed gingerbread, the high roofline! How I love this house!”
These thoughts course through my consciousness as I begin to notice that there is no one else around. No traffic, no children’s voices drifting to the street from the alley way, no dogs barking, no sounds of life anywhere else! Frozen in an instant, or longer; I see myself standing there, immobilized.
Abruptly; a flash of a nanosecond; there are sounds all around, a blaring car horn in the distant, shouts of kids from the nearby open field and the general, cacophonous and typical sounds of a small city. Looking from left to right, I realize that life is returning to “normal” and that I am, merely, standing in front of my old apartment building.
With a great feeling of relief coupled with the thought that I should ‘exit, stage left,’ I pivot from the sidewalk, walk across to my vintage BMW and start the engine. With one glance back at the white Victorian with forest green trim; I pull away, heading for Old Town and my present life.
“Whew! That was strange!” I think while driving north on Coombs Street; once a cobblestone thoroughfare from the south of town to the north; now, paved over but still graced with century old structures, all ‘gentrified’ with loving care; restored and proud, beautiful evidence of a hundred years past.
“Did this truly just happen? Am I out of my mind or at my wit’s end? Was this even a bright idea, Kathy?” I pose this to myself as I near the cute pale yellow, beloved Vallejo Street house. Chris, my renter, is sitting in front, sunning himself in the filtered sunlight, as he sips a glass of red wine. How often, in my return trips to California and this house, have I seen Chris in just this position? He’s a great renter who loves his little home. I’m a lucky Kat, indeed, for having him; he cares for the property as good as, if not better, than I did.
I pull up to the curb and wave ‘hello’ to Chris. He knew I was soon to arrive as I’d emailed him to tell him my itinerary. Big hugs and offers of a glass of wine and pallet cleansing crackers (he's such an officianado!), we sit for a moment to discuss ‘business,’ (of which there is little to deal with because he IS such a good tenant), and laugh at shared experiences of Vallejo Street living. After a little while, we say our adieus and I continue on with list checking and item removal from that list. This is always a satisfying thing; removing “must do’s” from the ever changing list of things needing my immediate or not so in the future immediate attention.
Off to next door where my amazing friend and neighbor, Richard, lives. What would I do without him? I bought the home in 2004 and immediately began work on restoration. This included complete stripping of the ugly old paint, down to redwood exterior - gorgeous and termite resistant - to begin with a clean surface. Richard watched from his window; enthralled with the gumption and determination he witnessed. Another friendly, helpful neighbor, Charlotte, to the east of the house, offered her sometimes boyfriend as expert painter. Well! What more could one ask for? I hired Jack, befriended Charlotte and him, got to know Richard and the rest is ongoing history unfolding!
Over time, Richard has been my friend, house sitter, cat lover, tree trimmer, gutter fixer, and over all fantastic friend. When I come to town, he always picks me up at Evens Transporter and makes sure I have a vehicle (until this last time, when Al and I brought my Beemer back ). I am so fortunate; good friends who make sure things go easily.
After a brief visit with Richard, a few more deletions from the ‘to do’ list, and a quick stop at the nearby Safeway (an easy hit and run shopping trip…tomorrow; I’ll walk to the little gourmet store just a mile from the country home) where everything is in abundance and the prices are right, I’m on my way back to my cherished Cliff May home of almost 25 years (minus the 4.5 in SE Kansas…!!).
A quick tasty salad with crunchy, pungent French bread and another hot, steamy, strong cup of coffee and, it’s time to do a crossword puzzle or the Word Jumble (I’m a master at these! ;D ). I do cypher oftentimes, too…but I DO NOT attempt Sudoku….these drive me nuts; I’m just not wired that way, I guess!
Listening to the radio (I have chosen not to hook up tv for this trip; instead, I plan to read and write, visit HP’s and my physical friends here in N. Calif., hike and walk! No sitting in front of the tube for me!~
Listening to AM 680, the home team’s flagship station, The San Francisco Giants have just lost ANOTHER game! That’s 9 of 11 they’ve given up, and most of those at home’ AT&T Park. Oh, if I were there, I would have been jumping out of my seat, yelling encouragement to my team! “What are you guys doing? Don’t you realize we’re ¾ through the season? We’re about to lose our first place standing to the lousy Arizona Diamondbacks! C’mon, Giants!”
Well, it’s getting late here, and, still somewhat on Central time, it’s actually two hours later according to my biorhythms so, with a quick check out the back door, front and back lights placed on dim, to ward off whatever might mean me harm (which is nothing, around here!)..I glance about to see if Binky is anywhere near.
Binky, the neighbor’s black male cat, is always my ‘replacement kitty’ when I am here. He was an frequent visitor for years before Al and I made our move in Feb. of ‘07. When we left, I worried about Binky and missed his friendly little furry face. Well loved and taken care of, I knew he would be fine even with our absence but, typical for me, I fretted that he would miss us, too…oh, “quit anthropomorphizing, Kathy!!”
To my delight, I catch a glimpse of Binky in my peripheral view and begin to call…tail straight up and happily bounding towards me, Binky runs straight to my open arms. I coax the sweet little guy into my house and, as so many other nights, he accompanies me to bed, for a comfy, cozy catnap. Usually, he awakes in the middle of the am hours, wishing to be released from my loving grasp..I grant him his wish. Tomorrow, we’ll do it again.
With my hand resting on Binky’s soft flank, we both drift off to sleep, content in one another’s company.
Ahhh..,.there's nothing like waking in the middle of the night, knowing there are still hours left to laze and luxuriate before morning arrives, demanding my time and presence elsewhere, I allow myself to drift off in the embrace of total creature comfort..
Only partly aware of my surroundings, under the influence of the blissful moment, sleep begins to seduce me with it's tender touch...
Lucky, Pasha, Miss footer and Frank are all curled up at my feet. It’s a particularly cold night and the kitties know the best place to be is with me in our warm little bed.
In a groggy state, I reach down to pet any one of my feline friends, finding their warm bodies in a jumble near my knees. A gentle caress brings on multiple purrs which assures me all is well. I am quite sleepy as it is still the middle of the night and so, I acquiesce to the tug of needed slumber.
An unexpected 'click' resonates through the unusually quiet room....another sound; a thud!
“What is this?” Who’s there?” I ask
The door leading into this small place is opening. My entryway / front room cedes to nightime necessities and becomes my bedroom so, this door is opening into my sleeping area!
“Who is it?” I demand.
The door continues on it’s syrupy slow widening giving me time to jump from bed to an upright stance, the better to face the intruder.
Time is acting strangely! It seems to be taking forever for the old door to complete the wide swing to be fully opened. Backing up, I reach for the light switch. In my stupor induced from being rudely awakened from a deep sleep, my hand scrambles over the pass through frame leading from the bed/front room to the kitchen, searching frantically for the light switch. It appears as if I have ample time for this search as everything other than myself is moving in ‘snail wading through molasses’ sequence…
Suddenly, the overhead ceiling light comes on blinding me as it does. I didn’t do this, though! Someone else is directing this moment in time!
My eyes scan the surroundings; no Lucky, no Pasha…ms. Footer, Frank…my cats are nowhere to be seen. As I lift my gaze towards the door……
I am suddenly awake! What is this?
End of Part III….stay tuned for Part IV…where, I promise…we’ll get down to the bottom of this mystery!!