August 13, 2020:

My mother doesn't understand how much I love my friends.

She grew up without stability, a household which moved many times, so that she came to view all childhood relationships as transient, and shallow. More, she accepted her family's hillbilly wisdom that childhood emotions are superficial — more akin to tantrums than lasting or meaningful. To her, tearing me away from Pam and Wes and Lulu is unproblematic. What counts in her world is shortening the twenty minute cross-town commute from La Mesa to Clairemont to visit her bestie there, and she rationalizes further by convincing herself that her bestie's son and I are besties ourselves, which, we are not. We tolerate each other for our mothers' sakes but my friends are in La Mesa and our move tears me permanently away.

I'm traumatized. My friends are gone, our new neighborhood is surprisingly rough, the new school has bullies and a teacher who calls me a liar when I say I've already read the third grade reading text. It's too much adjustment too fast, and although I quickly make a new friend who grows into my true childhood bestie, the first thing I do with my new bicycle is ride across town to the old neighborhood hoping to encounter Pam or Wes or Lulu. I don't.

I have very few unhappy memories of La Mesa. Clairemont for twenty something years is colored by loss, abuse, isolation, depression, and anger. There are good things, of course. But the bad are prevalent enough that on the whole I wish we'd stayed put.