THE DRIVE


Driving through the dessert can be wearisome, fatiguing and all the things that you dread
in a long drive. Not this trip, it was the new beginning, I was on my way to find myself. I
had 14 hours to contemplate the reasons I was doing this. My friends said I was nuts,
family said I was stupid. Letís see, nuts and stupid, um, O.K. I guess everyone has their
own opinion. Its not really what I wanted to hear, but I could see their point.

Yuma, Arizona, my hometown, lived there for 10 years, graduated from high school, had
lots of friends, had a great job, but one crucial element was missing, I just wasnít happy
there. Everyone, including my family, (who by the way, all moved back south), said I had
everything going for me. I, on the other hand, did not feel that way. There were hundreds
of reasons why I should have stayed, carried on, but it only took a few significant reasons
to abandon my so called perfect life in Yuma, Arizona.

I remember driving, looking out of the window at the mountains and clay colored rocks. I
realized just how beautiful it all was. Again, my thoughts turned back to my life. The man
I thought I would end up sharing my so-called perfect life with. I could see his face,
remember his smile, hear him laugh. Jim and I were great friends for a long while. Almost
a whole year, until I began to actually feel something stronger. I had never been in love
before and it had been an overwhelming feeling. At a party, I had too much to drink and
on the way home blurted out how I had felt. He smiled and drove me home. The next
day he came by my house and sat me down and told me he had felt the same way. It
began. Two wonderful years, of now loving my best friend. It wasnít always wonderful,
we had our bad moments, but I was the happiest I could ever remember. Jim was still in
the Army, it was time for him to decide whether to re-enlist for another 3 years or get out,
be a civilian. He decided to get out. Jim was a very private person. It was hard for him
to share himself with anyone, even me. I respected that, and gave him his privacy. But I
never realized that meant that he would leave Yuma and leave without me. I never told
him how I felt and he never discussed his feelings with me. Our last week together was
the best. We stayed up all night and gazed at the stars and went into the dessert and
watched the sunrise. Those times I will never forget. The day came, we got up and I
drove him to the Phoenix airport. The drive seemed endless. We kissed goodbye, and he
was gone. I drove back to Yuma, and went to work.

I had been employed by the Federal Government, a Civil Servant is what we were called.
My job description was Computer Information Specialist. Which simply meant that I
created programs for divisions on a military installation. My last assignment was to create
a program for the communication division. I worked intensely on this program. Logging
in around 25 hours overtime, and 3 months of work. Three days before my big
presentation, that was to be given to the division head, I was informed that a commercial
program had been purchased for $32,000.00! I could not believe it. I was devastated.

What a bad 2 months I had had. I stopped by the store and got a bottle of Tequila. I
remember the shattered feeling I had. I cried for the first time. I sat in my driveway
sobbing. I just realized that Jim had gone and would not be back. I felt like a ton of
bricks had been dropped on my chest and I was trapped. I was hoping the Tequila would
give me strength to release myself.

I woke up the next mourning on the living room floor a red magic marker was in my very
sticky hand.. Lemon peels were scattered all over the room, and there was a mound of
salt where the salt shaker had spilled. I was laying on a map of the U.S. and a bright red
circle around the city of Sacramento, CA. I