emma b. says

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I missed my train thanks to a drawbridge and a barge. (also my hair takes forever to blow out, but that is neither here nor there)

Speeding down wet streets, getting lost, getting to the station, getting a ticket on the next train to Seattle, getting a parking ticket, thinking about mixed blessings, getting coffee, going for a run, killing time before getting to the train station to do it over again.

I pulled into the parking garage for attempt number two and had one of those sudden claps of certitude that I had parked next to my ex-boyfriend's, the engineer, car. Swell. I was suddenly glad I had missed the 8:30 train to blow dry my hair, knowing him, insofar as I know him at all anymore, he was on the early train.

I boarded noonish. Settled into my window seat with my i-Pod and the New Yorker and my book and my expensive, yet crappy train sandwich and my expensive, yet crappy demi of chardonnay, and proceeded to reach backwards as the train swayed northwards to Seattle. All of the other trains, in other states and other states of mind, and continents and countries a decade or so ago. I'd go to Seattle just to ride the train. For the syncopated jostle, the lurch and lull, for the countryside and the backsides of small towns and the underbellies of middling cities unfurling in the window. Temporarily mesmerized by blurred passage of elongated freight trains. I kept Andrew Bird on repeat, it felt appropriate. I'd ride just to remember, it's always better to remember when you are going somewhere unfamiliar, through a landscape devoid of the footprint of memory.

Flashes of bay I don't have a name for, no orientation on my personal map, I miss large bodies of water, I miss the ocean like I miss the presence of my best friend, but at least she and I have email. Me and bodies of water have only the kinship of proximity. Brine only has immediacy.

Seattle recalls San Francisco except it isn't. I stayed with my new friend and she showed me the town. Pike's Place, the usual tourist destinations. Last night we hit the town and closed down the bars, I met a women who is my economic doppelganger and together we solved this crisis with the aid of some truly spectacular cocktail slinging by an exceptionally hot and exceptionally talented bartender. I was impressed by the array of seemingly available men specimens.... I was standing outside with two other women engaged in debate when some intrepid fellow barged in on our conversation and was all whoa, yer talkin' economics and I looked him straight in the eye and said yes, it's a real boner killer isn't it, and chastened he turned tail. I felt sorta bad for half a sec, but whatevs, this is the reason, dear readers, that I haven't been laid in seven months.

ms. D and I went to the russian baths this afternoon. Hot, cold, tepid salt water, banya, the beat down with oak leaves, repeat as needed. I then had a deep tissue massage by a tiny lady with really strong hands, as my body went into spasms, I haven't been touched for such a long time, I am super ticklish and I have a year's worth of the stress of unemployment embedded deep in my tissue that I emerged half drunk with relaxation, she stuck an elbow into my right hip and I nearly bucked her off, she said, you're kind of overdue for this, aren't you. Ya think? I stayed awake on the train back long enough to do a cursory reconnaissance to see if I could spot the engineer, get some wine and wilt into the chair and surrender to the syncopated jostle, the jolt and lull. Much better to sleep on trains than planes.

Off the train, down the quay, it's gotten so inky dark with the change of season, it's gotten wet again, my mind is off thinking of kissing as I clickety-click to the parking garage, and then there we are, side-by-side, loading our luggage into our trunks.

I met the engineer on a plane.

I haven't seen him in a year, we make small talk, I decide I... I decide that cycles are strange, indeed. I decide that I am free to be heartbroken again. Or not. I decide that a full beard is not a good look on him, but I decide that I might hit again for old time's sake, even though that would be unwise, and then I get in my car and drive away - what on earth is there left to say.

In a week I will have been here a year.


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