Back to My Future
Take for example the summer of 1999, when my family flew to California to visit a bundle of potential Universities for my sister. We went to West Mont, Point Loma, and we visited Azusa Pacific University. I remember sitting on the bleachers of the baseball field at APU talking with my sister. I was envious. I wanted to be the one going to school in California.
In the following years I flew in and out of LAX several times to visit Annie and then eventually to spend a semester at Film School. Each time the plane took off for home I would peer out the window and look longingly on Los Angeles, wishing it was my home.
I remember then, standing on the porch of our little apartment in El Segundo four years later, staring at the planes taking off from the LAX runaway just across the street. I was breathless with wonder. How many times had I sat in those planes, wishing to live in LA? How many times, while taking off, had I glimpsed the apartment buildings we were now living in, never having the faintest clue I would one day live there?
My life had moved forward and yet, somehow looped back on itself too. This happened again when I started teaching at Azusa Pacific University. I remember standing in the classroom thinking, "How did I get here?" I had no idea when I had sat on those bleachers seven years earlier that I would one day end up teaching at APU.
Here's another example: when we first moved to LA, we went exploring one evening with Sam and Rosie Bills. We got lost, sort of. We stumbled across a corner of LA and wondered around looking for a spot to have dinner. In the dieing light, we passed the open window of a coffee shop with a rainbow flag donning the door.
A few paces later, a couple guys ogled Sam and Dwayne, then whispered at Rosie and I, "You better keep a hold of him!" We figured out pretty quickly that we had happened across the happier side of LA. We found a little Indian restaurant, ate dinner and laughed at our good fortune.
Three years later, I was working in Beverly Hills, and running errands for my boss. While driving down Santa Monica Boulevard I saw that very same Indian restaurant! I couldn't believe it. Three years ago that restaurant had been located somewhere in the haystack of LA, but now, here I was working as an executive assistant in the film industry and I knew exactly where I was. I was in Brentwood.
What really wigged me out was imagining myself back then. So much had changed in three years. And for a moment, time collapsed on itself. I could see me standing on that street corner watching the cars drive by having no clue where I was, having no clue that one day I would be dressed in a black skirt, button up shirt and heels, whirling around exhausted and slightly disillusioned by a career that at that earlier moment I wanted so badly.
And here we are again, a new stitch in the yarn of my life. Two weeks ago, after living in the South Bay for five years, Dwayne and I have moved to Azusa, with the help of our friends! It took us all day, and lots of hard scrubbing (believe me, you don't know how much your friends love you until they clean your bathroom. Thank you Lorraine and Yvette!)
The irony is that it's a new home, but not a new location. Of course, I've already been here. My parents lived in Azusa for a year, and it just so happens that our new condo is literally down the street from their old home. So I know the neighborhood. I know the street names. I know the stores. I'm familiar with the local churches.
And the loop goes on. One more step back to my future.