When I was still forced to wear a kilt and knee-highs to school, as opposed to the kilts and knee-highs I chose to wear after school (it was the mid-nineties), I would often retreat to my sister Lana’s apartment after school and play “grown-up.” I would do my homework in her living room, watch MTV on her big screen, drink Wa-Tea and imagine I lived some where far from the Lehigh Valley.
Because back then, more than anything else, I wanted out of Allentown. A fact that broke my mom’s heart a bit. When she and my dad dropped me off at Temple, my mom turned, after we had said good-bye, hoping for a Lifetime Movie Moment. She expected to see me, standing there, scared and a little sad, maybe even starting to cry. Instead, I was gone, already back in the dorm, taking the stairs two at a time to get back to my room and back to my new life.
But now I am back in the Valley for the week. My parents are in Aruba and have asked that I housesit for the week. The idea that I am housesitting is a little funny to me considering we didn’t lock the doors to this house when I was growing up. However, new neighbors moved in and built a fence, labeling them definite weirdos and the sort that can’t be trusted and so now here I sit, in my father’s recliner, pretending I am not really in Allentown, but merely at my writing retreat in the country.
Unfortunately, this time, pretending is hard. I miss my friends, and my apartment on Broad Street and the rumble of the subway that lets me know it is time to get up in the morning. I miss my routine and my Starbucks. Plus the reality and fear that if I can’t make it as a writer I will end up here permanently surrounds me and is almost crushing me.
However, just like I used my hatred for this town to keep my focus on school and doing well so I could get out of here, I am trying to use this fear to motivate me. I won’t end up here. I won’t end up here. I will write and work and be creative and by the end of the week I will have so much done I won’t cringe when someone asks how is the novel coming.
Plus the Lehigh Valley has a lot of hilly running trails. And it is never too early to start training for San Fran.