Years ago, when I was still in school in Philadelphia, I used to drive my stick-shift, no-air conditioning Toyota truck along the paths to the suburbs just to find some peace in the gentle autumn breeze and the colorful but soothing maple leaves. I used to roll down the window just enough to feel the breeze brushing against my cheek. I used to keep my hair longer than now, so I didn't want so much wind that might have flatten my soft hair and made it fall down covering my eyes. I was vain, I guess. Or, maybe it was because of my obsessive trait that I didn't want my hair to be a mess. I often smile when I think about back then. Now, I just let the barber chop my hair as short as possible so I won't have to worry about it. What a relief!
One of the paths was to King of Prussia, where there was a big shopping mall. I didn't really care about the malls that much, but I used to go there to buy clothes for my two younger sisters who still were at home in California. I did that before each time I came home to visit. Back then, they just started their twenties. My family didn't have much money, so we saved money from work and brought home to our parents. So, my sisters didn't have much clothing. They didn't have a choice. What I bought for them didn't cost much. I, too, saved some money for my parents from my school loans. During undergrad, I worked full-time; but, during medical school, I worked very little. It was not because I didn't have time. I think it was because I was a little depressed about being gay. I spent most of my time in front of the TV and skipped most of my classes.
Anyway, my sisters loved what I bought for them, probably because they were from my heart. I, in turn, got the chance to drive up to King of Prussia. It started out as a path with tall trees along both sides of the two-lane road. In the autumn, it was not yet cold in Philadelphia. The breeze was just a tad chilly, creating a sense of romance. To me, it was mixed with a sense of festivity, a sense of family because it was a signal for my coming home visit. Yet, it also brought me a sense of loneliness. Though surrounded by the marvelous multi-colored leaves on the trees, the beauty of the serenity of the early weekend morning, the joyous songs of the birds, all I could hear was a yearn for love, a yearn to love and to be loved, a hopelessness that I will never be allowed to love and be loved. I was only in my early twenties, but I felt like my soul was swirled away driftly among those little yellow leaves that were falling from the trees and carried away by the breeze on the old asphault toward some unknown destination.
After some small paths was a long section of highway where there were mountains on one side and cliffs on the other. There were only two small lanes for the most part, if I remember correctly. It was beautiful. But, I always felt uncomfortable driving by the cliffs. I'm scared of height. Yes, I am a chicken...LOL. However, back then, I was always preoccupied with the possibility that I was never to have a boyfriend to love and to be loved by him. I even believed that this was a fact. So, while driving, I indulged most of my thoughts to an imaginary boyfriend. I pretended I was holding his hand while he was driving. I didn't like to drive in my daydream. I didn't like to drive a stick-shift without steering power on a highway with a whole bunch of cliffs. Once in a while, I would lean over and kiss him on the cheek or lay my head on his shoulder. All that took away most of my fear of the cliffs.
Yesterday...I, too, was on a parkway, the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was beautiful. The leaves had not changed color. Yet it was very beautiful and serene. And, I was not lonely. I was with my real boyfriend! I was so happy. I did lean over and kiss him on his cheek. And I did hold his hand. But, this time, I held his hand because I was scared!!! It was crazy! The scenery was wonderful, but the cliffs were HELL...LOL. I was scared! Most of the cliffs were on the passenger side, my side.
Nevertheless, our end point was at a view of the sunset. It was wonderful. I tried to sit next to Jim for a couple minutes to enjoy it. It was wonderful. I was not too scared of the cliff then, but it was too cold for me that I had to watch it from inside the car...I LOVED IT.