Jordan still groggy, woke up to say “goodbye” to his brother Austin, on the right.
Driving Austin to his first day of college at the University of California Santa Barbara required leaving our house at 5:45 a.m., to beat traffic through the heart of Los Angeles.
As with most activities in California, freeway driving takes patience. I’ve spent years of my life standing in line, especially at Disneyland and Universal Studios where lines are so long, I’ve witnessed the birth of several new varicose veins on my legs. Patience is the only way to stay sane in Los Angeles.
According to my husband, I still haven’t mastered the art of patience, but what do you expect after living in Paris for 15 years where cutting in line, is an art in itself.
With a bicycle and a surf board attached to the roof of my husband’s yellow Chevy Aveo, Austin had all he needed to start a successful college career at UCSB.
Once on campus, we followed signs and waited patiently in snake formation, to off load Austin’s belongings. Staff and students waved us along, welcoming us with warm smiles. This made the waiting rather pleasant.
With giant hampers on wheels waiting for each student to dump their stuff: computers, printers, bikes and suitcases were being tossed inside. Everything ran smoothly.
The bike made it.
The nine foot surf board made it. Basically all the important stuff for college at UCSB, made it.
When I said “Goodbye,” to Austin during lunch, I didn’t want to embarrass him in front of his peers, so I hugged him and turned away.
Two days later, I walked past his open door and peeked inside. Everything was missing except for his electronic keyboard, and the lyrics and notes to Bob Marley’s song, “One Love,” which Austin had been practicing the week before. The tears started as I looked at his favorite childhood photo from pre-school: the one with him sitting cross-legged and smiling, holding onto some giant crayola crayons.
It finally hit me that he was gone. Soon he will grow up to become a man, a husband with a wife and his own family. My little boy is now gone.