THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED SINCE WE PULLED OVER ON THAT DRIVE HOME

In 2008, my mom had a rare cancer. In Spring 2011, my mom got a rarer cancer. It's been four years of every emotion (mostly love and strength), and it's coming to an end. She is in hospice and we have moved to the middle-of-nowhere country Catskills so she can finally have her garden. I am and I am not coming to terms with anything and everything.
  1. I became an East Coaster over a West Coaster
    That spring, I had only lived in Manhattan ~9 months. In the past four years, I have numerically lived in more East Coast states/cities/towns/homes than times I have visited California.
  2. Beyoncé has released two albums, I know the ins and outs of each, every song I have a deep visceral association with
    Remember when I got both exactly. 4 in a Pittsburgh suburban Starbucks caught off guard. Surprised by the surprise album on final day of fall term sophomore year, deep in finals and I felt like it was just for me.
  3. Two female black labs, one passed, one puppy
    Ruby, honestly an angel, passed away a year and half after. Could never let myself react too much or I would unravel endlessly. Moya, a pup, was picked up yesterday. Too much pressure on her and I'm now falling into a pit of self-pity. Getting her was my distraction, my destination, and now that I'm here I have no where to go. Feeling forced to face reality.
  4. I toured the college I would attend, I applied, I was accepted, and I've dropped out ("leave of absence")
    My mom threw up on the drive home from our first Bennington tour, the warning sign of the returning, radiation-induced tumor. I have since completed two years (fun fact: lived with my best friend in the same colonial room my father had as his senior single) and have taken this current year off to be home and help out. I just don't see myself back there. I think I will go back, but I can't picture it.
  5. Gone through many groups of friends, losing/pushing/distancing/distracting (truly don't know which side these actions came from)
    Los Angeles social scene essentially lost. New York City, moved fast and quick through a few, all so fake and false. College I never let myself get too close. Essentially won't put up with people my age. Obviously, my true friends have stayed throughout and are now family.
  6. Stole all my parents friends
    Being shuttled from state to state, household to household, there were periods I didn't see kids my age for months. Living out of suitcases and often not knowing where I would spend the night, made me not care much about teen social interaction. All my various "God-parents" became my tightest social circle. My parents are jealous.
  7. Moved an innumerable about of times
    There was one 4 month period where I moved 32 times. After that, I lost count.
  8. Finally got my fucking license
    Such a failed LA kid, but after five years with a permit, (somewhat) attempting in 6 states, and failing the road test 3 times (my anxiety would sky-rocket under this pressure/all I repress fly to surface), driving through Manhattan/FDR/Brooklyn Bridge with my sleeping father besides me for weeks and my mother in a coma uptown, I finally passed. Thought this would fix everything and I would go back to being fifteen in LA...
  9. Turned 21
    To celebrate, I took a handle of vodka and a bottle of gin down to the cows at the end of the road and took selfies with my "best friends" (the cows that really don't like when I rap OR sing). Don't really drink but maybe I should...
  10. Skipped my teens
    I am the definition of 13 going on 30. But maybe more like 16 going on 60.
  11. I have been so lucky and fortunate and traveled so much
    With friends and others' families. But never again in the way I once got to with my parents. We made (and still make in every aspect) the best team. Because of this, each trip alone has been bittersweet.
  12. So many lives, so many lies, so little time.
    Sometimes I feel like I'm a spy, or Hannah Montana, but without the perks. I keep secrets with myself and have my own inside jokes as a source of survival. I listen to "Me, Myself, & I" because I am my own best friend.
  13. Cuddles
    Hands-down favorite person to hug, no matter the drastic weight fluctuations and occasional weird smells. Early years, cuddles everywhere always. Hotel beds. Hospital beds. Naps. Binge watching. Impromptu performances. Cuddle attacks. Cuddle wars. Now all there is is a "hand hug," where she lightly touches my cheeks as I lay my head in her lap. Still the best in the world.
  14. PJ!
    This is my mama's alter-ego/inner creature/surprise attack pounces like HOBBES/dances like Sasha Fierce... She's one of a kind and one of the world's many wonders! Born and raised on this roller coaster ride.
  15. Endless style evolution
    She knows what she likes and she sticks to it. Same thing for days and days and weeks and weeks. Eye patch. Fur hat straight from Russia. Stripes. No pants. Scarves bigger than her. Beanies. Two beanies at once. Pajama sets. Whatever it is, she ROCKS it.
  16. Relationships changed
    I know my parents differently and better than I ever would have before. I have seen sides of loved ones and strangers never before exposed. Positive and negative. Who's the child? Who's the adult? Who's the doctor? Who's the patient? Who knows best? Who's professional? Who's passionate? What is medicine? All lines have blurred.
  17. She's changed
    The most visual, the most obvious, the one I won't acknowledge. Always the most independent and unpredictable, she now has no autonomy at all. She can't walk. Can't talk. Can hardly see. Can't smell. Can't eat. Can't stand. She weighs nothing. Hair comes and goes. She used to sing, off key out of tune lyrics lost lyrics gained. I haven't heard her voice in months. We used to dance. She can barely move. I dance upstairs alone above her in a room she has never seen.
  18. And she hasn't changed
    Even though the tumor has rapidly grown and all but taken over, she still has total reign over us. And just about everyone. Communicating with only one eye, blinking at the alphabet, or with her now illegible, sleep heavy, though iconic chicken scrawl, she's the boss.
  19. But even so, the story changed.
    Though there were many comas, and intubations, and cities, and hospitals, and hotel rooms, and doctors having fly loved ones in from all over, and warnings, and near death experiences, the end was simply never an option. Now it is the only thing on the table. Immediate. Inevitable. Unavoidable. And I can't, I won't, accept it.