Part 3, Act 2 of Alan & Sara, a Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast Romance
At Sara’s suggestion — or was it insistence? — she took care of all the packing, so as to avoid having me meet the Creep, or even run into him. That would be awkward at best, and could get seriously ugly quickly. After all, he’d been violent to her in the past, and there was no reason to think he might not get violent with me. Rather than risk any type of confrontation or scene, we decided I would wait at Joan’s place by day, and then we’d spend our evenings together.
So, we settled into a simple routine: Sara would head off for the day to pack up her stuff, and I stayed there at the apartment. We went out to eat once, but Sara worried about running into the Creep, so we couldn’t go to any of her local favorites there. Mostly, we ate in each evening.
Meanwhile, the Creep continued to engage in close-range stalking, following her about the house as she packed, constantly promising to be a better man and treat her right (for once!). When pleadings rolled right off her back, he’d launch into another line of attack. “He must not be much of a man to make you do this by yourself,” he taunted her. Little did he know she could barely keep the secret of my cross-town presence.
Later, she would discover that as he followed her around, he made sure to slip the same note into each box she packed, an angrily scrawled “Faithless Bitch.” She would be finding these notes for weeks to come.
She spent a couple of days packing and each night, we’d have a mini-reunion, thanks to her friend Joan. We sought distraction in renting one of the hot new movies of the day, Batman (Michael Keaton-Jack Nicholson version). Exhausted by the day’s packing, though, Sara fell asleep shortly after we started watching. This scene got repeated each night we were there — start to watch Batman, watch Sara doze off instead. At least Joan and I got to see it. To this day, that version serves as a standing joke for putting Sara to sleep. I don’t think she’s ever seen it all the way through.
We needed a moving truck for the return trip, as well as a trailer suitable for hauling her car behind us. Luckily, we found one. You see, this was less than 2 months after the Big Earthquake of ’89 — the Loma Prieta quake — and lots of folks were moving out of the Bay Area as quickly as they could, straining the supply of moving vans. Mostly they were headed north along the coast, so it turned out to be easier for us, being Texas-bound. Oddly enough, it turned out to be cheaper to drive an extra 180 miles to Houston rather than to drop it off in Austin — go figure.
The Creep continued his stalking, upping the intensity of his persistence, insisting that they spend one last day together. Finally, he convinced her to do so, and all day long, he did everything he could to regain her long-lost affection. They visited old haunts, he was suitably charming and disarming — in short, nothing like he had been like for the last several years — and Sara, worn down by all her travels, the packing, and this onslaught of attempted persuasion, felt drained by the end of the day.
Of course, though, that day was not enough.
That’s when the Creep insisted they should spend one last night together, saying, “You owe me.” No was obviously not the answer he wanted, and he persisted even as she repeatedly refused him. By the time she got back to Joan’s place, she was frazzled and near tears.
We had one final day to get all the remaining packed boxes and loose items into the rental truck. And we still had to disconnect the drive shaft on her car so we could haul it along with us. After a quick, frantic search through the Yellow Pages (remember those?), we finally found one nearby service station that could take care of this critical detail.
With that place closing at 6pm, we were cutting it close as we drove up, her in the car and me in the rental truck, and turned into their parking lot. Except we’d both crossed a yellow line (indicating no turn allowed there) right in front of a cop, so he hit the lights and we both had to talk with him a couple of minutes.
As he puzzled over my Texas driver’s license, Sara spoke rapidly, explaining our hurry to excuse our mistake, still worried about getting the driveshaft disconnected before the shop closed. I think it was when she said we were trying to leave the state that he decided to cut us some slack. “Be careful crossing those lines,” he said in an official semi-snarl before handing back her license.
With 5 minutes before they closed, we rushed in to ask the guy to help us out. He walked out and looked at the car and scowled. “That’s a front-wheel drive — you don’t need to disconnect the driveshaft on that,” and just walked back in.
Oh…who knew? Not us, obviously.
We left that evening, driving away in the dark, like thieves in the night. Our moving-truck-car combo groaned and strained as we climbed a long hill to the east, but we finally crested it, and headed down the road away from the Bay Area.
Next: across the desert Southwest to Texas