Morning, September 11, 2000
love dies hard, if at all.
It struggles against reason; ignores all logic; resists, with
every fibre of its being, the dark and painful descent to its
Rachel Marin had always believed
this to be infallible truth. It was now her reality. She had greeted
the new millennium, still clawing her way up from the basement
of her life. Nine months later, jagged steps remained.
Sporting faded jeans, a white, Boston
University sweat shirther Alma Materand white ankle
socks, Rachel sat alone on the barren, white-carpeted, living
With delicate fingers interlaced
around knees drawn to her chest, she leaned lightly against the
wall behind her. She stared blankly at the Italian-marble fireplace
across the room. However, her gaze took her far beyond itback
into her past, and yet forward toward an uncertain future.
Tear tracks lined her unmade face. Her
hair, finally auburn again, not blonde as David had always insisted,
sought its own contrary course.
glanced toward the partially open front door; past two Coach suitcases;
a clothes bag; a computer bag; two camera bagsone still,
one videoand two, nearly identical, tan briefcases. All
were lined neatly, side by side.
Everything had been packed, just
so. The Apple G4 laptop was in it's reinforced bag, as were rewritable
CDs, DVDs, zip disks, USB cable. A smaller canvas bag held a high-resolution
digital camera; a Palm, and assorted web devices, including a
satellite internet uplink.
A third briefcase, this one black
and timeworn, held copies of manuscripts and publishers' rejection
letters. Rachel kept every one. And there were dozens. "Fuel
for my inner fire,” she told herself. She knew that writers who
dream of being published often struggle to persevere in the face
of rejection and self-doubt.
The Sony Hi-8 video camera was secure
in its case, along with extra tapes and battery packs. The still
cameraa Canon EOS Rebel she purchased on her birthday in
'95had standard and telephoto lenses.
Rachel packed away 48 rolls of color
Kodak filmhalf 200, half 400 speed; 6 rolls of Ilford black
and white film; 4 packages of lens paper, and a large can of compressed
There was the large, weathered,
tan leather case containing almost two hundred still photographs;
a sheaf of torn movie tickets; a bundle of old love letters.
And there was more. Dozens of amusement
park ticket stubs; numerous luggage tags from memorable trips;
a ream of faded notes scribbled on coffee-stained restaurant napkins;
scores of Christmas, birthday and even business cards. This was
Rachel's life in bits and pieces. Few things were more valuable.
Packing 'her life' away had not
been easy. In doing so, Rachel fought past an onslaught of persistent
memories she thought she had banished.
There were memories
of losing her father; her life with David; long-denied loneliness
she often felt being an only child. When the packing was done,
she knew it would be a long while before she reopened the old
The two large suitcases held only
clothing she really needed, plus a few pieces she simply could
not live without. All other clothing, accumulated over many years,
was donated to the Purple Heart organization in Altadena.
Finally, a vintage, pea-green,
US Army Surplus duffel bag was crammed with rolled jeans, folded
T-shirts and causal items requiring little or no special care.
quaint, three bedroom, white clapboard and brick, South Pasadena
house was on Mission Street, only blocks from Fair Oaks Boulevard.
It had been her home for nearly ten years. Selling it was traumatic.
Leaving it was beyond difficult.
Except for the luggage and the
memories, the place was now empty. She once shared the home, on
rare occasion, with her husband, David, a Paramount Pictures executivethe
man with whom she had expected to spend the rest of her life.
Their larger, more glitzy, Pacific
Palisades home never really suited her simple, country-girl tastes.
David was gone now, as were the reams of paper maché dreams
Rachel once embraced.
She sat stone still, drew several
deep breaths, then started to stand. The time had come. The hour;
the moment; the second ordained for her departure.
The knowing was unmistakable. A
nearly audible voice. A force that nearly yanked her from her
place. She rose, lifted a large wicker basket brimming with fresh
rose petals, and made her way to the farthermost room.
Outside, a brilliant southern California sun. Inside,
a shower of red rose petals floated down onto a sea of arctic-white
carpet. Rachel's eyes misted, as she drifted from room to room.
She moved slowly, sowing fragrant symbols she prayed would yield
a harvest of love for newlywed owners of her home. This was once
her home, once a sanctuary for boundless dreams and fanciful imaginings.
But no more.
For months, Rachel had walked a
knife's edge between suicide and rebirth. Her Faustian choice
rested between the near certainty of death, and the desperate
quest for new life. And she was alone, as alone as she had ever
been in her 38 years.
Rachel had not arrived easily at
her decision to leave California. The inner struggle leading to
the decision had been epic and exhausting. Yet, she knew answers
lay far beyond the Golden State's borders. But, where?