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An Angel's Homecoming

Impatience is bubbling in her breast as I write this, and her eager exuberance is almost too much to reasonably bear. It reminds me of my first flight home in 2012, enroute from Pensacola. Exhausted from constant tests and unending studying, the reprieve from computers, networking and IPs was both well recieved and extremely necessary. But this was no trip to the beach, or, if we were feeling particularly advenerous, to Destin, Alabama. This was my return home, me settling back into the life I'd left behind so abruptly. Now, nearly 5 years later, history repeats itself before me. Eyes blazing and fiery, heart thudding, she narrates our plans and schedules animatedly, pausing to assure Im still with her. Yes baby, we'll visit New York City. Of course we'll drink at your stepbrother's restaurant, country music serenading us intoxicatingly as the whiskey warms our beleaguered hearts. The details matter for naught, as your company is blessing enough. Youve been with me through hell and back, facing down demons and embracing the negative with steely gazes and a crooked grin. Let's go home Bonnie. Youve earned it.

Today, returning to Coronado to retrieve my last few bags of assorted trash, I drove by the pier, now cheerlessly vacant. Dejected but relieved, I passed on, warmed by the memories and leveled by the realization that this period of my life is coming to a close. How many times had I wished to be released from the stifling grip of that acursed ship, only to be ironically hung up on it when the time came to let it go. Eyes narrowed and resolve reawolen, I jetted past with nary a glance in my rearview. I have a plane to catch.

In a masochistic sense, Im covertly excited to return to the East, especially when it is in such close proximity to the South, my generational and adopted home. Today, feasting on chicken wings and beer, I was bothered by the generic Pop Rap and Alterna-Rock blaring obnoxiously through the restaurants blown out speakers. Incensed and stricken with a glorious idea, I made my way to the electronic jukebox. $5 and 6 songs later, Brantley Gilbert treated us all to an impromptu concert. I took special pleasure in the sour, annoyed expressions adorning my fellow patron's faces. Suddenly, I realized that in less than 12 hours I would be heading back to a part of the country where Country music was the rule rather than the exception. One where I wouldnt be stared at conspicuously for my style and accent (dont ask where it came from, because I dont fucking know either), or judged on my political and religious values solely. Ive discoursed rather heavily on my hatred for Virginia, but the fact remains that it was a large portion of my life, and I will always value my time there. On the eve of Friday the 13th, I will again brave the cotton snow, frigid temperatures, and horrid traffic. This time, however, I'm on vacation.

Airports have always evoked a sense of wonder in me. As I kid, when my Dad worked for United Airlines, we traveled rather extensively for a relative pittiance. It humbles and enthralls me to think that my privileged childhood was possible solely due to his sacrifice and sweat. I recall watching, slackjawed and captivated as the planes, enormous metal birds, rose effortlessly through the atmosphere, kissing the sky and bathing in the smokey clouds, a feat possible only through human intelligence, ingenuity, and engineering. For awhile I harbored dreams of working in aviation like my Dad and his friends until I discovered that I was hopelessly and fatally allergic to all things mechanical. Ive read that all of humanity can be distilled into either creative and technical types, and I am an unabashed, proud member of the former. Sorry Dad, but life as the only Garcia who cant turn a wrench has been pretty good to me. I can memorize a deck of cards in 5 minutes but still cant, at the age of 25, tell you how an engine works. Go figure.

A double shot of Crown Black has dulled my coherence but enhanced my perception. Gillian rests peacefully on my shoulder, her excitement regarding her homecoming abating gradually on the surface yet still storming like a hurricane underneath her accumulated fatigue. I cant wait to see how she reacts as she embraces her parents for the first time in nearly 7 months. In this state of somnambulant inebriation my memory is especially vivid. I recall comically and happily my return home. My Mother and I locked eyes. In her gaze I felt the full spotlight of eternal, unconditional love, what I imagine God's love for His children feels like. As I made my way towards her, my now ex enveloped me in a stifling hug. At the time, I missed her considerably, and I was all too eager to lose myself in her, rivers of tears cascading down her face. Now in hindsight, I consider her an annoyance, an obstacle standing between me and the woman I love most. Eventually I made my way to her. Safe, snug and secure in her arms, I felt the stresses of the previous 7 months melt away instantly. The ice thawed, and my heart was healed. Happy Birthday Mom. I love you.

I see faces flashing before me. "Stone: Delicious IPA", mocks me from its handle, reminding me maliciously of several dear friends that enjoyed the local San Diego brewery. People that I stand a very poor chance of seeing again, although the act is always possible. This is the life Ive accepted for myself though, pursuing with zest in 2012, eventually resigning myself to as the realization that I would be forever transient set in. But, Ive been lucky these past few months. With 3 more years stretching before me, along with a handful of months, barren and telling, Im optimistic and opulent. Hand in hand, we'll travel back East, back to the tundra outside and the waiting warmth inside. Happy Birthday Mom, I love you. Time to board.

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