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  • Santa Fe, so many kindred spirits there; I load up on love there and ponder…if this expat thing doesn’t work out for me, perhaps, this will be the place where I will finally hang my hat. Who knows….but for now it’s time for me to leave and head north on I-25 to a place called home. Colorado Springs.

    As I may have said before, home is hard for me. The last time I made this drive was eight years ago and I was headed the opposite way, driving fast, running away with a vow never to return to this place called home. Why? We’ll get there. But what I’ll say, for now, is age softens absolutes, and so does love.

    Love is what brought me back; I fell in love with Jon Veitch in California; he opened my heart right up. One morning I looked at him and told him that I would need to bring him home to meet some of my family…not all, but some. I also warned him that home was hard for me. He didn’t believe me.

    He continued to not believe me when we arrived by plane to Colorado Springs. He saw Pikes Peak. He loved it. He had dinner with some of my high school friends. He loved it. He went to a birthday party for my saucey great aunt Shirley. She turned 80. When I went to shake her hand, she pushed passed me and looked directly into Jon’s eyes and patted the cushion of her love seat for him to sit. He sat and swore later she goosed him. He really loved that.

    And then it began to roll downhill. The day after Shirley’s party, my right eye began to bother me. I ignored it and continued with the plan of the day. My father had planned a hike in Cheyenne Canyon, so my sister Tessa, Jon and I followed. We followed my father up a red dirt path, through pine trees and up a scramble of rocks. Before I knew it, we were hanging from sheer cliffs. Despite all my running, I am a Coloradan, so I am a bit like a mountain goat. However, Jon? He was in great shape, but by that time, he had already had five surgeries to address the tumor on the left side of his head; these had left a scar that looked a bit like a pop top and it was very fragile underneath.

    I looked up at Jon clinging to the cliff for dear life. I began to panic and I could hear Jon doing the same. I buried my face in a rock.

    “What was my father thinking?” I said to myself.

    I looked up again at Jon and I could tell he had started praying. Slowly, he began to scale the cliff. He made it to the top. I peeled my face from the rock, began to breath and did the same.

    When I got to the top, I grumped at my dad,
    “What the hell were you thinking? Look at Jon’s head!?"

    “We made it, didn’t we?” my father said to me. I just stared back. My father is one of the lovlier people in my family, but sometimes he is only a few steps behind the Great Santini.

    I looked at Jon; he also smiled at me.

    “Faith got me up that rock. Did you see that?”

    I had. Faith had gotten Jon through 23 years of terminal cancer, so I guessed I shouldn’t have doubted that faith could get him through this.

    The next day, I woke up and that eye that had been bothering me had swollen shut, and for some reason, Jon and I began to fight. As I write this, I am trying to remember what the fight was about. However, I can’t. All I know is it was one hell of a fight, one of the biggest fights we ever had. A picture was broken; Jon pulled the Bible out at one point and my swollen eye growing to prize fighter levels. Somewhere between our yells, a realization fell upon me. I stopped. I had been here before; he hadn't.

    “Jon, Jon, stop,” I said.

    He did.

    “Let’s table this fight. Let’s just drop it for now. We can pick it up in California and if we do, then maybe we should break up. However, I think this fight is coming from this place, not from us. ”

    He agreed.

    We stopped the fight and I went to the eye doctor. A stye is what I had and there was nothing the doc could do.
    The next day, Jon and I left Colorado Springs. My stye began to heal the minute we lifted from the ground. When we got back to Cali, we didn’t pick up that fight. We never fought that way again.

    Later, when I would say that home was hard for me. Jon would nod yes. He believed me. He also told me that he never wanted to go there again. We never did.
    With his passing, though, it is time for me…to head for this place called home. Colorado Springs.
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