So this is how I spent my time in Texas. I would do my schoolwork and then meet the Alice and Matthew when they got done with school. We all did our homework together and then we made dinner for my dad together. They loved making food with me, and both Mrs. Kathryn and my dad had an endless supply of desserts. I made sure my dad did not eat junk food. I felt like I was ten years older. Here I had two young children and took care of my absent-minded father. I laughed at the silliness of the situation. I actually was ten years older. I tried not to spend too much time thinking about the intricacy of coming back to fix my mistakes. I sometimes found myself reminiscing the last ten years that I was now reliving. Three months went by quickly and happily. The emotion was new to me and I reveled in it. I think my father took noticed of my joyful moods. I knew he had never seen me so satisfied with life. For ten years I had lived in the shadow bad relationships. The time came too quickly to go back to Virginia. I debated about staying with my dad in Dallas but I had a plan and I wanted to follow through with it.
“Why, Jessica? You just got back. Are you not going to train anymore? You know your students have been calling.” My mother complained. I had just told her that I was going to Florida for the summer. I would spend the summer in No Name Key just south of Key West.
“Mother,” I began. “I have already decided. And who has been calling? I told everyone I was taking a year off?” I was confused to who was calling. I had sent my students to my friends at other stables. I had worked everything out and “tied up” my lose ends. I spent a lot of time working out the details. I knew all of my students had been taken care of.
“I don’t remember his name but, Jessica, you can not go!”
“Don’t worry. I’ll be back in August when college starts. I am leaving for Florida Monday.” I did not stay to hear her complain. I went up to my room to unpack and repack. I was so excited about going to Florida. I was still curious about who she was talking about. Who would have called me? I had taken care of my students and told my few friends that I was going to be gone. They were used to me traveling around. I tried to travel with my dad as much as possible. Since I was home schooled I did not need to worry about missing class. My school followed me wherever I went. As I was thought about being a high school graduate my phone rang interrupting my thoughts.
“Hey, Jessie Baby! What’s happening?” Sam said. I was surprised to hear from him.
“Sup, How did you know I was home?”
“I didn’t but Michael said you were going to be home in May. So I thought I would try ya. How was the big T?” I was speechless for a moment with shock. Michael was looking for me? Why? I told him…
“Oh! Umm… well I am back only for a few days. How was…school?” I really did not know what to say. I was angry with Michael. Didn’t he realize how hard it was to talk to him? I could not understand why he did not leave me alone. Sam and I talked about trivial things. He wanted to know everything about Texas and where I was going. I told him about the Alice and Matthew. Sam was excited that I could cook now. He made me promise to cook for him the next day. I told him about Florida and my plans of sunny days and sandy beaches. He was intrigued about my need to spend my summer living it up. He was convinced I was going to spend every night in a club partying it up. I assured him I was going to spend every minute as possible in the water, night and day. With great mistrust in his voice he agreed with me.
“Really, Sam, what do you think I am going to do?”
“I don’t know Jess. Who spends time in Florida’s water? Its all about the Miami night clubs!”
“Silly, I am not going to Miami. I’m going to No Name Key. It is so much better.”
So I spent the rest of the evening explaining why the beach is better then the nightclubs. I promised to find Sam the biggest conch shell I could find. We both laughed and I disconnected the line a lot happier about my trip.
I had spent my remaining days in the stables. The pain I felt losing my horse was quickly replace with renewed love. I was so happy she was well. Perhaps in this timeline she will live a full life. I, at least, was going to try. I was half way to Florida in the car that I knew my parents would get me for graduation. This time I knew a lot more about cars then I did ten years ago and I would not blow any head gaskets. Traffic was light and I was making very good time. I had spent last night sleeping in my car. I remember I used to sleep in my back seat instead of going home. It was my own place away from everything that troubled me. It was a wonderful feeling. I spent the last few hours watching the landscaping change from pine trees to palm ferns. I noticed the humidity grow and at one rest stop I changed into lighter clothes. I had been to Florida before and was always surprised how the surroundings felt like a sand dune with house build on the sides. I knew people would build anywhere no matter how harsh the environment.
After a lifetime I came to my destination. I did feel like a lifetime had passed me by. I had spent so many years dreaming about being in Florida. I invested so time in something that never happened. I was tired of life and I wasn’t even middle aged. It was crazy how life flowed. For me it flowed backward and erased so much pain. I knew that I would never been able to deserve what happen. Happiest that I never knew filled me up over welling from my heart. My chest swelled and I was elated. Elated… I now truly knew what that word meant. I feel like I was floating and the world finally was bright and sunny. Everything was colorful and bright. The feeling hit me a few miles south of Miami and I knew this is where I was suppose to be ten years ago. The last few hundred miles disappeared with out time moving. I was finally in a place I had dreamed about for over ten years.
No Name Key was so low in elevation that you feel that the world was truly passing you by. “Island time” had new meaning here. Everyone took pride in living on a spit of land in the beautiful Caribbean. I drove down Main Street looking for the beach and taking in the culture. Toward the end of the street I found what I was looking for. No Name Key was unusually forested. It was probably the only thing that kept the island from being washed away. I turned left onto a side road that went into a dense stand of trees. I found a place to park and got out stretch. I left my shoes in the car and took in the warmth that seemed to radiate from me. I followed a trail that was marbled with shade to the edge of the water. About fifty feet from the water the trees ended and the land dropped a few feet down to the beach. The beach was pure white in the midday sun. A breeze ruffled my hair like a long lost friend tussling my hair. I smiled and tried to see farther then the horizon. It was perfect. I had daydreamed about being in this exact spot. My stomach growled and reminded me that I had been in the car most of the day. I walked back to the car to grab some cash then walked to town. I was looking for a hole-in-the-wall, native restaurant. This is where I will find a place to do some under-the-table work. About a mile from where I parked I found exactly what I was looking for.