With shaking hands I unlocked the rent-a-pontiac got inside, turned the ingnition and slowly backed out of my parents driveway. Tried the best fake smile I could muster and waved to my Mom in the driveway as I made my way up the road. Then did a pretty good job, I think, from not breaking down completely.

It’s a very hard thing to watch a parent disintegrate.

My dad has Parkinson’s Disease. According to my Mom, he has his good days and his bad days. But all I saw was the bad days. He can barely walk. He’s in severe depression and too stubborn to see a therapist. He’s falling apart. I knew within the first hour or so I was there that he’d never come visit me in San Francisco again.

My mother, she’s a strong woman. But she’s under this constant stress. I could barely handle it for the 3 days I was down there. Perhaps one builds up a resistance to it. I don’t know. All I could think about on the way up to Houston was how I could completely rearrange my life to make it easier on them. San Francisco is my home now. While things are tight, Courtland and I love the city. It was only days ago that I said that I could never imagine moving back to Texas. Yet that was all I could contemplate while driving.

I could move to Lake Jackson, that’s a small city near by. That way I could be near my parents whenever they would need me. I could move back to Houston. That would be better on me, I think, more metropolitan. Brazoria is only an hour away.

And then I think of the heat. And the bugs. And I’m sitting here writing this at Cafe Artíste and people are smoking. SMOKING. In a restaurant. To say nothing of the completely, overwhelmingly conservative nature of the people. Especially in Brazoria. There’s a reason I escaped to California. But I have some real close friends here. It could work. But I would hate every minute of it. It would feel like a giant step backward. And I can’t ask Courtland to move across the country again. He gave up so much to go with me to SF. Now he’s making a life with me in SF. I can’t possibly ask. And I don’t want too. Just thinking about moving back here fills me with a sense of dread. I can visit more often.

I can try to come out here more than once a year.

But, seeing my Mom and Dad. It just breaks my heart.