As I trudged from my house to the bus stop Friday afternoon, I thought, If you saw a woman walking down a suburban road pulling a suitcase behind her, would you assume the worst? I wasn’t running away, though, so much as taking a two-night break.
Early as usual, I waited for the Metro. Rain pattered the top of my umbrella like static. I could see the Sound from where I stood. I felt silly there, on that patch of grass in the middle of nowhere. But I liked it too. The damp air, fresh and salty. The beginning of a small adventure.
I took the bus to the train to my friend Stacy’s Honda Civic and we roamed Portland. Pork tenderloin, goat cheese, scones, red velvet cake, thick coffee, low, gray skies, more rain, little shops. Soft cats, impossibly supple and comforting. A big, sweet, black dog, drugged, recovering from surgery.
I found my parents, who had come into town for a wedding. Their presence was part of the reason I picked that particular weekend to visit. We met at the Farmer’s Market, sprawling and lovely and misty with flowers and nuts and vegetables. I bought 20 dollars worth of morel mushrooms. I remember hunting them as a kid in Michigan.
I’ve hardly spent time with my mom and dad in the last seven years that didn't involve Fruit Bat and Kitty Cat, that had nothing to do with soothing crying babies, discipline, food prep, and constant entertaining. It was nice. More than nice. It was comfortable and lively. I didn’t want Saturday to end.
And Stacy. Sweet Stacy, who drove me over the bridges a million times without complaint. She’s one of the easiest people I know. With the barest refrigerator. We can talk forever. Just not about cooking. Which I didn’t want to discuss anyway.
On the way home I wrote, wrote, wrote. A man with yellow nails and yellow teeth and a greasy smell sat next to me. He was friendly. But I didn't much want to talk.
Home now. Games of dominoes, which I keep losing. Morels waiting. Squirming happy kids. Splitting a bag of chocolate chip/sea salt cookies with J.
Seattle, even darker and rainier than Portland had been.