Sunday, January 19, 2014
She is gone! My Hanah is on her way to Arcata, California on board the Greyhound bus!
She still needed to go shopping for some things, so we left the house early after the last "clink" of our glasses filled with Martinelli Champagne, as a goodbye gesture for Hanah. It took us quite a while, walking around Walmart and trying stuff on, but, finally, we drove towards Oakland, where the Greyhound Bus Station is located.
We were in one of the small towns before that, and to Sonny's inquiry: "Aren't you hungry?", Hanah said airily: "I'm a little hungry, but let's go!"
I was hungry too, but, first, - I had no money to spend on lunch and couldn't make the decision to go somewhere, and, second, - I was interested to see, how well Hanah will understand the situation and make her choice. So, I said while driving toward the on-ramp: "There are no fast food places in the area in Oakland, where we are going. If you want to eat, we should do it here. We'll be on the freeway in 3 minutes... One minute...
"Let's just go!" - Hanah said, and we went! In about 20 minutes we were at the Bus Station. As soon as I turned off the engine, my precious firstborn child said: "We have lots of time before the bus. Let's go eat something!"
I explained to her the reasons why I warned them about the lack of fast food places in that area of Oakland. She was quite unprepared to acknowledge her mistake, but, finally, did it. She was going to be on that bus for the next 7 hours, so I decided to try and look for a place to eat.
I drove and drove. It was a very bad area: just restaurants with names like: "Shuga Daddy's" or "Brotha's Place" doted the sidewalks. People were crossing the road in wrong places, every little nook and cranny by the buildings was filled with garbage. Bums gathered in the plazas and bus stops.
After a while, we came upon a shopping center. It had a Subway Sandwich shop. Are you familiar with it? They usually have a good variety and you can choose from an array of breads, vegetables and meats that they have on display behind the glass.
Inside the restaurant there was one couple ahead of us. At first, I thought that the man was being difficult: he took a long time telling the sales clerk what he wanted. Then I thought that, he had a right to get what he was paying for. "No, not these tomatoes on the top" - he said - "Give me the ones from the bottom, the top ones are old and bad looking!"
When it was my turn to choose, I also declined to settle for the tomatoes on the top. The clerk threw the red veges that he already prepared to put on my sandwich back and said: "All tomatoes are the same! Do you want them or not?"
I only wanted tomatoes with my meat on the sandwich. There was a big line of people behind me. My kids saw an expression on my face and began to gasp: "Oh, no, God, there she goes!"
"Where is your manager?!" - was my next question to the clerk. He waved indifferently at the lady by the cash register. She stood by him: "These are the only tomatoes that we have!" I said: "Then I don't want to eat at your restaurant! And I will call your Headquarters and tell them about your attitude and the way you run business!"
Suffice it to say, I went hungry. Hanah and Sonny had their sandwiches, but I only took a few sips of their soda pop. Somehow it made me full, and I didn't need to eat anymore.
The bus came on time. I don't know why, every time Hanah goes away or when she comes home,
I felt a wall preventing me from feeling sadness of her leaving or joy of her return. Perhaps, I was not ready to accept that those things are real: that she will now go away from me as a part of her growing older and starting her own life. Today I could connect to my feelings better. She also felt it: she hugged me with tears in her eyes and went through the door to the waiting bus. As I and Sonny were pulling away in the car from the parking lot, she texted: "I love