Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

Susie stood in the living room and cried. It had been two and a half years, but the room smelled like home.

I was smiling, happiness inside me, happiness from being inside. For me, the tears came later.

* * *

When we landed in L.A., for some reason I felt as naive as a tourist. I gawked at the splayed neighbourhoods of Los Angeles covering half the view out the window, ash grey smog covering the other half.

But once we hit the ground, the feeling of belonging started to melt its way back into my bones.  Familiar frustrations, like the $3 luggage carts at LAX, and the long wait for rental shuttles, were echoes of earlier L.A. experiences.

After picking up our rental car, we drove off the lot and got lost within minutes, so we meandered our way along fragments of shared memory, like Florence Blvd. (flash point for the L.A. Riots) and La Brea (through the oil fields of Los Angeles and the African American Beverly Hills).

We did a poor job of lining up accommodation with friends, and Susie’s mom pointed out that, well, we have a place to stay, our house.  We drove through downtown and stopped at Phillipe’s, home of the French Dip sandwich.  The counter ladies were all smiles; they’d just finished serving the pre-Dodger crowd and we enjoyed our sandwiches, cherry pie and potato salad with the game on the TV above the wooden benches.

From downtown, it’s a straight shot up the 110 freeway, past the folks pulling that last-minute merge onto the 5, past the 60-to-0 freeway exits, past South Pasadena (Most endangered place in America!) and onto the surface streets that lead into Pasadena.

We delayed our arrival at the house even a little more, because we stopped by Target, where we bought sheets, pillows, blankets, bottled water, shampoo and conditioner, costing in total a little over $100, which is how much every visit to Target always costs.

Finally, it was time.  We went past the Band of America where we still bank, past the Von’s where we used to shop, past the Super Burqer whose sign still had a typo (though their new awning was a novel green.) We turned right at Paloma (instead of left to cruise around Victory Park) and marveled at each other how the road was wider than the place we rent in Vancouver.

The street lamp on the edge of our lawn that had once caught fire was glowing brightly, though the house was dark.  We opened the door. It fell open a little faster then we expected; it always tended to do that.  Even in the dark, I noticed the doorbell was tarnished.

We stepped inside, and the echoes of the past surrounded us.

* * *

We slept in the back room, the T.V. room.  It’s the only room with carpet, and it always felt the safest, most protected room of the house even though the other rooms all had curtains.  Our bedroom, many of the light bulbs were burnt out, or that was the excuse we told each other without questioning.  Actually, I think we couldn’t face sleeping in the same room, in the same spot, not that night.

* * *

The next day, we said hello to the neighbours.  They have us hugs, told us how much they’d missed us.

We’ve visited USC’s campus where more old friends and co-workers greeted us with yips and grins, and had dinner with Jae and Karin at our favorite French restaurant, Le Petit Bistro.

* * *

We fully came to L.A. expecting to sell our house, but I have to be honest—I’m not 100% sure that’s the best plan.  I miss our house.  Our house misses us.  And L.A. has a lot of nice things going for it.

I’m tired, and it’s time for bed.  Let’s see what city I dream about…

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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