So, because I don’t have anything else to do with my life for the next few months, I decided to randomly surprise my sister and come out to Arizona where she has been exiled for her confinement.
I really hate coming out here to Arizona because it’s always the greatest bore. I haven’t been out here in three years, and the only reason I was here three years ago is because I was forced to come out here for military school. I was in Sierra Vista, about 3 hours from my parents. It would have been the height of rudeness if I were to actually be in the state without coming to see my parents.
At any rate, I’ve been here since Wednesday afternoon, and we’ve already exhausted half the town’s entertainment activities. We’ve been prolonging the agony so I won’t become too bored and threaten suicide as a form of amusement.
We’ve been to most of the “decent” stores in town which are really all of the bargain stores. Yuma doesn’t boast any high fashion stores. They did build this outdoor mall a few years ago, this place they call the Palms. I have jokingly started calling it the centre of the cult because it seems like everything in Yuma closed down in order to be stationed at the Palms. Really, the Palms is a pathetic attempt at a mall. It’s an outdoor shopping centre with stores that you don’t really find in malls. There are some mall stores, like Ann Taylor and a Hot Topic but since I shop at neither, I have discounted the entire place as a loss.
There is not much in the way of night life here. Of course, there’s no club for freaks. Even if I were into hip hop music, I’d be disappointed. Yuma is like the last stop on the train to nowhere. Nothing of fashion or any consequence comes here, and that would include the music. If I were a country and western sort of person, I might not have this problem. I think we’re going to find a karaoke spot later tonight. At least I can garner some sort of amusement by laughing at people who cannot sing. So sad. My life has been reduced to this.
Can you imagine what my life was like living here as a teenager, for the few minutes I was forced to endure? When we moved here back in the late 90s after Japan, I felt like we’d been exiled to a desert wasteland. I met a lot of nice people here, and I never felt lonely in that sense, but this place is the back of beyond. They could never understand the torture I felt. Of course, this is their home; they’ve lived here all their lives just as their parents have before them, and their parents before them. Whole generations have endured this madness, and they thought I was the strange one for wanting to get out. My friend had this wide-eyed stare as she asked, “Why would you want to leave?” I don’t know, something about the “what would I really do with my life?” question keeps coming up. What would I have done with my life had I stayed here? What sort of job might I have had? I’d have been miserably lonely because I never met a boy here that I was ever serious about. God, the thought…. it’s making my throat close up.
When I graduated high school, I disappeared faster than some guy after finding out his girlfriend is pregnant. I stayed gone for years until my parents moved back here. What insanity drove them back, I’ll never know.
I rode past my old high school and stopped in a few places I used to haunt. Nothing has really changed. This is like when you leave a DVD in the player on pause, and then you come back to it a few hours later. Nothing really changes.
I ran into a guy I went to high school with. Of course, he doesn’t know me and I don’t really know him. I used to think he was really hot, but I heard he married his high school sweetheart. She used to be a cute young thing, but after a couple kids, well, time always takes its toll and he was no exception. I could see the look of recognition in his eyes, but since we never really knew each other what could we say to one another and what possible purpose would it have served? “Hey, weren’t you in my class in school?” Oh, yeah, I think so. “Hi.” Hi. “Uhm, well, be seeing ya.”
At any rate, while I had some very nice friends here, I never really kept up with any of them because I had made it perfectly clear that Yuma is not my home and I had no desire to have any long-standing attachment with it. I talked to a few of them every now and again when I was upstate at college, but once I moved to Florida, it was like I fell off the face of the earth. Through myspace, I found them again but our lives have taken this totally different track. Like I’m on the moon, while they are still grounded on earth.
Some people look back on their graduating year with fond memories, but I only see it as a release from prison. I didn’t bother going to my high school reunion, and I’m not really interested in laughing up the old days. I hated it here. It’s a miserable little place that begets that sort of slow-witted laziness you normally find in small towns.
Naturally, I bear no animosity towards anyone or anything; it’s just that after Okinawa no other place could ever compare. I was resentful for even being here in the first place. If we could have waited just one more year… one more year. I once tried to explain to Ceciley the depth of my passion for Okinawa, but even as eloquent as I could be, as fluent as my lexicon is, I could think of no words that could adequately describe how I feel about Okinawa. I was depressed that I could not finish high school there, that I was forced to attend this squalid overcrowded high school with their backwards educational program that I felt stunted my growth. When I should have been wearing green and white and looking toward the future with my fellow sisters-in-arms, I donned crimson robes and held hands with people I only knew for a few minutes. They were all very excited because they had known each other since kindergarten, but to me, it was like… “whatever.”
Every time I come here, I think of that. Driving down the main drag, past the tallest building in town (a whopping 4 stories), past run down Mexican food joints and car washes, strings of fast food restaurants and the grocery stores where most of my high school chums now work, I count myself lucky that I was never a homecoming princess.