“Gee LouLou, why not pack a few dozen more? They’re not heavy enough,” Risky said. “Do you know how many times I’ve moved these?”
Risky lugged the boxes down two flights of stairs to the basement, which he had to rearrange because my Vacation Rental Advisor told us it wasn’t presentable. All this activity stirred a family of mice who turned up on the garden pathway and zipped by me as I laid the platter of food on the outdoor dining table.
“The mice are not dead,” I told Risky over and over.
Because he loves all creatures, he avoided the traps until the mice turned up in the flowerbeds while he was planting. It’s the first time in several years that it took six months to fill one lined journal. And without my journal, I swell up, and then explode. The explosion comes in swift unmanageable bursts. During one of the manuscript box moves, the one marked “Rejection Letters,” prompted me to take a great deep breath and drop the box squarely over the second-story landing.
“What happened?” they asked.
John and Risky took giant steps toward the box and then looked up at me to see if more were coming. “Rejection letters,” I replied.
In one of the free tote bags that come with a purchase from Nordstrom’s, I dropped the books I would need, the ones that nourish my appetite for understanding: Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Joan Didion, Lawrence Durrell, and the ones I have not read yet. I was able to pack 15 books in the bag, which I imagined would go in the front seat of the car if we were driving or in the suitcase if I was flying.
It was still undetermined to where John and I would escape during the eight days our guests would live here. My pal Jewels invited Risky to stay in her casita, but that was still undermined too. After the books came the wardrobe, shoes, cosmetics, toiletries, porcelain pets, fans, masks, magazines, hats CDs, DVDs, and then my desk. Within hours, my private writing room and literary sanctuary for the last five years was ransacked, broken down like a theater set, and stored in stackable trays that I wheeled into the closet.
“This feels very weird,” I said. “It’s as if I’m stripping from the inside out.”
“What about the filing cabinet? Where does that go?” Rudy asked. He was on the floor, attaching wheels to the cabinet, and I was in the closet, where the space was shrinking around me.
“LouLou, What about Cancun?” John yelled from another room. “What about it?” I shouted from the closet floor, where I was organizing jewelry.
“I have a time share I can exchange,” he said. “I’ve never been there.”
“It’s too late,” I said. “Cancun is California. We may as well go to Malibu.”
And 10 minutes later, it was Oaxaca, Hawaii, and British Columbia. I was separating half-written essays from memos to the Las Vegas Mob Experience. The heat came in waves from the hallway, but I couldn’t get out of the closet. Later that afternoon, my browsing eye turned to Craig’s listings, and John continued his efforts to find us an escape.
“How about Laguna Niguel?” he offered.
My finger landed on a posting: “Writer’s Cabin on 40 acres in San Cristobel, Taos where Aldous Huxley wrote Island.”
“John, I found a place! Let’s go tomorrow to check it out,” I shouted. “This will be such an adventure! It’s next to a riding stable, and creeks, and trees and D.H. Lawrence lived up the hill.” To be continued.