Thursday, May 31, 2012
It was a perfect springtime day in Los Angeles as I drove West on the 101 Freeway to my oldest friend Kate’s house in the suburbs of Newbury Park for a family picnic. We had been close since the first grade. The sun was shining that Sunday afternoon but the air was cool and crisp, a hint of fresh flowers mingled with that citrus scent of orange and lemon blossoms from the San Fernando Valley. The hills along the side of the freeway were covered in luscious green foliage from recent rains, casting shadows against the blue sky. My family was with me in my RAV4, sitting quietly on my lap as I drove. I bought the roomy car to give Blondie, my then 12 year old pound mutt, enough room to stretch out. But she was far more comfortable on my lap, with my arms around her holding the steering wheel, her sleek neck out the window with her beautiful blonde hair blowing in the wind. I liked it too, inhaling her nutty aroma and getting her fur all over my clothes. It seemed we both needed to be close to each other as much as possible. There was no traffic that day, which was a good thing because I was late. I had overslept. I was living in a Beverly Hills guest house. Well, it was actually the pool house that my rich friends, the Caron’s, had converted into a sort of guest house and allowed me to move in after my latest break up. To call it tiny was an understatement but the rent was good. Rachael and Michael just wanted me to babysit their two daughters, age two and five, something that I loved to do since I didn’t have any children of my own. The bathroom shower didn’t even have enough room to turn around in and my living quarters would only fit my bed and my desk. I had a mini refrigerator outside, just steps from the pool.