Half a lifetime ago, back when I was a dewy-fleshed twenty-nothing and heading off to enjoy a year of tea and rain and deeply fried things over in mother England, I arranged to meet my boyfriend (and future first heartbreak) one last time before I left the states.
He had moved back to Los Angeles by that time, and I was still in the Bay Area, so we decided to meet halfway, geographically speaking. I drove three and a half hours south, he drove three and half hours north, and we united in the middle of the middle-of-nowhere destination spot known as the Lemoore-Hanford truckstop off I-5. We got ourselves a $26.95 room at the Best Western and spent one awesomely overwrought night sighing and goodbying and pining in advance.
Twenty years later, I decide on a whim to take advantage of my final week of maternity leave and drive down with the baby to Los Angeles for one last-hurrah weekend with my best friends Sophia and Jonathan and their kids and chickens and budgies and cats and bunny. Desi and I leave early in the morning, just in time to catch his first nap of the day. After three heroic hours of solid snoozing, he wakes with a start and immediately starts demanding some service. As his keening ramps up in earnest, I point my car at the next offramp — Lemoore Hanford!
The Red Robin that the boy and I bonzai burgered at that heartached weekend long ago is now shuttered. There’s a Chinese restaurant there now, and though it’s new to me, it’s already been there long enough for the sign to have lost some letters. And while I very much like the sound of “Chin Food,” Desi is in no temper for a sit-down meal. Instead he nurses his lunch in the car, then I change him, we exchange some coos, and we finish up with a quick session of practice standing. An hour later, we’re back on the road.
As we drive away, I giggle with thinks about how boggled Yester Evany — she of the 100% youth-addled sureness of where her life was headed and who she was going to spend it it with — would be if she could see Evany of the Now, with her job at the bank and her house in El Cerrito and her fine upstanding man and this brand new traveling mate:More words on: babytime