“What do you want?”

“That’s vague….  Phrase it another way.”

“What are you scared of?”

“That’s not the same question.  And I don’t know.  Ask me a different question.”

“Are you going to run forever?”

“THAT was NEVER the question.  And I am not running.”

“Then you remember your choice?”

“Seven and a half years ago.  I remember.”

“And you would choose it again?”

For a long time the words don’t come.  At least not the way they did.  But it is not entirely unexpected.  I had some warning from a friend.

And it is not just a lack of words.  It is a difficulty focusing.  For a time, I couldn’t concentrate and even now it is harder than ever.

A friend says, “You’re living the life of a cat.  Wake up, eat, nap, crap.” Not the exact words that he spoke.  But again the words I heard.  And the words I live.

The days go by in a blur.  I don’t watch a lot of TV.  My internet usage slows.  And I don’t know where the time goes.  Tai chi in the morning and walks in the evening.  The solitude I craved at last.

It is difficult to describe the thrill.  Being back in Vacaville.  The random nights with friends.  The questions that could only be answered by coming back. And memories long forgotten.  It is neither the place I left nor the the place I imagined coming back to.

There is an indian restaurant.  And a high school teacher that is a DJ.  A random girl that is not so random.  The cue stick breaks and a window shatters.  The Denny’s manager gives chase.  And the rock star is not to blame but goes hungry all the same.  Separate events that aren’t so separate.  Because Vacaville progresses.

And at my cabin too, I find the thrill.  Another place not immune to change.  But still a place where I can find peace.  For the trees don’t ask questions.  Or rather not the same kind of questions.  And though the kids I knew are all grown up, they come for peace as well.

But then sadness.  And the saddest day is not my day.  My dad and stepmom arrive.  Two dogs short.  The third shakes with sickness.  My father buried two dogs that day.  One in the morning and another that afternoon.  One a surprise.  The other expected.  That thing that every man reacts differently to.

But life goes on with laughter too.  Because he enters the room carrying the strange device.  I don’t ask immediately.  It is the standard fare.  He once said, “They burn a lot of candles so there are a lot of hydrocarbons in the air.”  But I digress.  The device is a sound detector.  And this day he wants to detect if there are any potentially damaging sounds in the air.

The good.  The bad.  The strange.  The unknown.  I take it all in.  Because trees grow even if they look unchanged.  And in that respect, they aren’t so different from people.  And I find my words.  Though I always knew my answer.

“Yes.  With no regrets.”

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