where the road takes you

Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The road to my grandparents’ house was the steepest climb I’d encountered. It wasn’t because I was young and the world seemed to maximize itself in front of my maturing eyes – it really was a steep hill. Each time mother’s blinker clicked to turn left after we exited the 15, her foot dug deep into the pedal just as my fingers sunk into the plush fabric of her white Mazda minivan.

They lived at the highest point of a private development in Escondido. The time my grandfather decided to buy his home, Escondido was nothing but a town of dust, cacti and outcast residents who couldn’t afford living in the southern region of San Diego where airplanes lifted and dropped, where the coast welcomed Naval ships, and life happened.

It was this very slowness that slowly crept up on North County. First, it was the mall, the one I still visit each time I go back to my hometown. Then a Starbucks or two plopped themselves snug in between a gas station and taqueria. By the time I graduated high school, lanes were expanded, street lights installed, and the town was a well-deserving destination, the doorway to the coast where Del Mar beach was where the road finally ended.

Grandfather, whether he knew it or not, made his land turn into millions. Though I give my grandmother the credit for the way she skillfully kept blossoms of all kinds up and open, it my grandfather who found the space for it to happen. It was a place where I’d glance at his paintings of Naval ships, black and white photos from my grandparents’ wedding day, and street paintings they collected in Valencia. It was a place where Christmases filled my childhood memories for years, a place where I’d slather sunblock against my tight skin before strapping on roller blades, running down the steep hill, or walking the landscape of the Wild Animal Park. It was a place where we’d toast to my high school graduation and college acceptance, where my belly grew and we’d guess if a boy or a girl was swimming inside.

It was a place where grandfather grew sick, a place where he lost his humility, grew vulnerable and weak. It was a place he decided, just as his life, to let go. It was a place he took the money and gave it to my grandmother so that she’d have nothing to worry about navigating herself around the streets of San Diego her final years.


behind the scenes

This piece came from a prompt to write about a road.


feature image provided by CFineArtStudio

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