It's a little over two hours before our compasses point strictly at Las Vegas and Henderson. Another teacher is taking over Dad's last class of the day so he and Meridith can leave and once here, Dad's going to take the dogs to the kennel in Canyon Country, stop at Enterprise to sign for the car, then someone at Enterprise will follow Dad here with it so he can park the PT Cruiser in the garage. We'll load everything we need into the trunk of what is likely to be a Kia Soul, drop the Enterprise employee back at that location, and we're off to Baker and then Las Vegas and Henderson.
I have one more book to add to my canvas bag, even though I know I won't read most of what I brought. It's what a bibliophile does: We need books with us no matter what. I just got this one in the mail today, called Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction by Alison MacLeod, short stories about desire, loss, love, sex and whatever else MacLeod has planned in this. It was only published in the U.K., and I ordered it from a bookseller there right when I found out about it. From the back copy, some of the stories include "ECT patient Gloria, who falls for her anaesthetist, 'Dr Numb;...the cerebral Nick, who chases after the heavily pregnant Katie at an Ikea sale; and the legendary lovers Heloise and Abelard re-imagined for the twenty-first century." The ideas of these stories fit in with me craving the presence of my future home cities, knowing that when I get there, I'm going to fall for them all over again. So this is going into my canvas bag for that reason.
I've been put in charge of packing Mom and Dad's clothes into their wide blue travel bag, and my clothes and Meridith's clothes into our wide purple travel bag (Mom asked which color I wanted and I chose purple because it's Meridith's favorite color. I did that on our previous trip in 2010). In fact, that's what I have to do right now so that it's less to be concerned about by the time Dad and Meridith get home. Just sweep the bags into the trunk once our rental car arrives and that's it.
As the hours inch closer to our departure, I don't feel the vehement dislike for this valley as I usually do, definitely because I'm going home for a little while, and I know there's hope in the future with this and hopefully with Dad's success at his job interview on Friday. I hope to leave this valley and this state behind permanently and mostly forgotten in the coming months (I will only remember Six Flags Magic Mountain for the relief it gave me from this valley, and such sights as Hearst Castle further up into Northern California, as well as John Steinbeck's house, deemed an historical landmark, which makes me think every few months about reading Jackson J. Benson's biography of him. Hasn't happened yet, but it will), and zoom right into exploring every inch of where I love to be, of Las Vegas being all about hedonism, about the happy freedom that comes with it, and I know that's where I belong because I strongly believe in that.
And now it's time to get back to preparations. As Mick Hucknall of Simply Red sang in the song "Home": "I'm going home....where I belong."