Many of you who last week read my freshly-pressed post, Broken Hearts & The Road Not Taken, wondered what happened next, after leaving my life in Maryland behind. Here begins my story of the road taken.
CHAPTER 2: When I arrived in Seattle, I had two suitcases, $100 in cash and little else. Just five hours earlier, I had been standing in the JFK terminal, where my parents, older brothers and younger sister had all gathered to see me off. Of course, my parents didn’t want me to go, and I could see it in my mother’s forlorn face. But in the end, they supported my decision, though my papá did buy me a round-trip ticket. “Just in case you want to come home, hija,” adding, “It’s never too late to change your mind, tú sabes.”
We took snapshots by the terminal gate. There was my mother, whose eyes glistened with tears, and my father, whose anguish for me simmered just beneath his strained smile, while my siblings joked, teasing me one more time. César, my oldest brother, laughingly warned, “Timber–watch out for the lumberjacks!” Which is how we Medina’s imagined Seattle to be—filled with lumberjack men in plaid flannel shirts, amidst a forest of enormous, felled pine trees.
As I prepared to board, I turned around one more time to look at them, trying to memorize their faces in that single moment. It was as though I was heading west in a stagecoach—and not in a jet—and would never see my family again. I was Laura Ingalls embarking on a new life. A regular pioneer gal. Only instead of Pa and Ma at my side, it would be G, the man who had once left me for another woman. We were starting over, the second time around. Westward, ho!
I didn’t know anyone in Seattle but G. I had no friends, no relations, no job, and no bearings. I would be living in his home and dependent on his income while I looked for a job. His car had a manual shift, which I did not know how to use, but what difference did it make? I had no place to go. Seattle was a long way from my east coast-centric life. I was almost 24 years old and all that was familiar wasn’t here. Westward, ho, indeed.
In fact, my only knowledge of Seattle was that the sky was supposed to be the bluest of all skies. This from an old TV series, Here Come the Brides about three lumberjack brothers, and their lumberjack pals, who were lonely because there were few women in town. So they had them brought in, a bevy of mail-order brides via Pony Express or something like that, and I couldn’t help wonder if history was repeating itself. Anyway, the lyrics of the show’s theme song went like this:
“The bluest sky you’ve ever seen, in Seattle.
And the hills the greenest green, in Seattle.”
And though the sky didn’t look any bluer than the skies back home, the annoying ditty kept going through my head during my first few weeks there. G met me at the airport and was all smiles, excited to show me what was to be my new home. As we drove to the house he lived in, he pointed out landmarks: Mt. Rainier, Puget Sound and the Space Needle. No matter where I looked I saw greenery–certainly the “greenest green” as the song indicated–that I felt at once how prominent a role nature must play here in people’s lives, something I’d never given a thought to before. Here, it was impossible to take the abundance of nature for granted, and soon I was mesmerized by the mountains, the dense and unusual foliage—such as the monkey tail trees and foxglove—the deep colors of the bougainvillea, sweet peas and bleeding heart flowers, the steep hills, and the countless bodies of water, visible wherever you turned.
We’d be living in the University District, by the University of Washington, where G was working in a lab, within walking distance of the campus. G was renting a room in a house among a row of similar homes with ample porches and roomy kitchens, though this particular house was located just under a freeway off-ramp. G told me how several months earlier, a bus took the ramp too fast, hurled off and slammed into a neighbor’s backyard. Everyone on the block was shaken by the late night crash and stumbled out of bed to watch the removal of the totaled bus. Luckily, there was no one on board except the driver, and he survived with barely a scrape and a broken rib.
As we approached the street which I would now be calling home, I felt a pang of dread. As happy as I was to see G, I wasn’t looking forward to meeting my new housemates, Stan and his girlfriend, Jeannette, and, most of all, Marigold, who may or may not have dated G prior to my arrival. I had suspicions but G assured me that he and Marigold were just good friends. And just like that, brushing aside my unspoken questions, he grabbed my bags from the backseat of the car and led me inside.
I’m loving the serial format as well as the story. It has made me dig into some of my earlier romantic adventures. Well, I thought some of them were romantic until they turned into tragic dramas. I am so glad to have had most of those chapters of my life.
Glad my story has helped you remember your own escapades. It is fun, remembering, and seeing how far you’ve come, don’t you think?
Our stories are indeed similar…I went from Southern Ontario to Newfoundland when I left home: http://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/the-rock%e2%80%a6nice-place-to-visit%c2%a0but%e2%80%a6/
Looking forward to Chapter 3!
Fascinating, I will definitely check out yours. Chapter 3 to post tomorrow. Let me know what you think; I always appreciate your input! 🙂
Another Lady Blogger/SheWriter here…Your post has great descriptions, with some multicultural flair. Keep up the good work!
Thank you! I appreciate the feedback and most of all, I’m delighted you stopped by! 🙂
Great story Monica, looking forward to the next chapter. Great writing !!
Thanks, Penny! I appreciate your interest. 🙂
You’ve got me hooked to your story just like a good book. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Visiting from LBS
Thanks! Glad to hear it. Now be sure to stay tuned…
First of all, congratulations on being Freshly Pressed yet again! I think that’s how I came across you the first time – with your second FP! And what a compelling story – I’ve loved reading both chapters, and am hungry for more. Are you going to write a book – this so feels like a wonderful book. Please write one, please!
Sorry for being so scarce – struggling to blog and read and work, but I hope I’ll manage all three one of these days!
Hugs from London
How wonderful to see my favorite Sunshine has stopped by! I certainly know about being busy and trying to find a balance to working, blogging and just living. Yes, I’m continuing this story to see where it takes me. Yikes, am nervous about it though. I’m gauging interest and perhaps may use these posts to expand it into a book. Am keeping my fingers crossed!
I came to visit via the Lady Bloggers tea party and went to read Chapter 1 first … I agree with everyone else, can’t wait to read more! I think so many of us can relating, having been “there” in a relationship. Although I’ve never moved across the country for a guy, I’ve definitely pushed aside nagging and pervasive doubts to prolong something with someone who broke my heart!
Thanks, Jacki. It’s been amazing to me just how many have similar stories. Glad you enjoyed mine, and I do hope you return to read the next installment. 🙂
I wonder if the show Here Comes the Brides may have been financed by the Seattle Tourism Board.
I wouldn’t be surprised, though they weren’t very good about explaining exactly where Seattle was located. As a then, firmly entrenched New Yorker, I assumed Seattle could be found somewhere in upstate New York. It wasn’t until years later, that I learned the truth, that there are some towns and cities that are not located in the state of New York.
hope to read more of your stories
I’m so glad you’ve discovered my blog!
reading your stories is quite a delight, thank you.
Thank you so much. Please subscribe if you haven’t already, and hopefully, you won’t be disappointed. 🙂
Please keep going! I’m not particularly liking this G guy and want to see what happens next… I can’t STAND it when an author leaves me hanging, I just have to know what’s ahead!
Yes, I do intend to keep going, and I’m writing as fast as I can. The next installment will be out on Tuesday, so please come back to see. 🙂
Hi Monica. You inspired my post today – well, actually haven’t written it yet. Leaving the familiar for the oh-so-different!
Glad I could inspire you. I look forward to reading yours, so let me know when you post it.
I enjoy reading your blogs…and like Bella above…it does seem like a season finale. But I’m sure it will all be worth reading. :0)
Thank you so much. I do hope you continue to enjoy my story. I appreciate the comments!
Monica, I feel like I’m watching the season finale episode of my favorite tv series! You know the feeling, when the ending is so good and you have to wait for the new season to begin again. The wait is sheer agony! I’m so glad you’re going to continue your “life series.” The interesting facts of your life, your marvelous story telling ability, your excellent writing–we have the makings of a hit series here! I’m so glad to come along for the ride, mi’ja! 🙂
Is this more akin to “Dallas,” “I Love Lucy” or “The Real World”? Just curious. Thank you so much for all the compliments. You always manage to make my day! 🙂
You’ve built an interesting story arc, one most of us can identify with! Moving clear across the country is hard (been there, done that!); leaving the familiar for the unfamiliar is hard, too. Looking forward to reading about more of your escapades.
Thanks, Debbie. When I look back, I can’t believe how readily I gave up everything I was familiar with, but I did grow to love Seattle a lot. It really was a wake up call to its natural beauty–a far cry from the streets and traffic of Queens.
Agree with Shary; more, more!!! Your Seattle flannel shirts reference reminds me of when my daughter visited Oregon on a college campus visit years ago. She came back and announced that she would NEVER move to Oregon because the people there were all “weird.” When I asked for her definition of weird, her reply was “they were all wearing flannet shirts.” That’s my SoCal girl who now lives in Chicago!
Lol! While I’m thrilled you want more, I can only write so fast. But more is to come, so stay tuned! 😉
You’re leaving us hanging? More! More!
Oh, Shary, I’m glad you want more. It’s been quite eye-opening for me to go back in time and remember all this stuff. So there will be more!
So beautifully written! Glad to know what the second chapter was… will there be another installment 🙂
Yes! I plan to continue the saga for as long as I can. It’s been intriguing to me to go back and relive this period of my life. Suddenly, I’m remembering things that have been long dormant.