Saturday, April 17, 2010

A year later (364 days)

It’s been an experience thus far. I got into Seattle around eight last night, and then learned how naïve I still am. A lot of the time, I feel like I’m pretty aware of how things work and can take care of myself in about any situation I get into. Last night reminded me that I’m not that far from my simple Missouri roots. And, to be fair to most Missourians, I’m probably more simple than they. Much like when I got my first job, I thought I could buy things because I was working—that’s not quite how it works. Likewise, I thought once you paid for something, it was over and done. That lesson I learned last night to be untrue. I paid my hotel and rental car through Obritz before I left home and brought $200 to pay for food, gifts for Gavin and my classroom, and a few activities I really wanted to do out here.

I get to the car rental place last night, and they refused to give me a car because I didn’t have $200 EXTRA on my debit card (since it is -$18)—even though I’d already paid for the car. Of course, they couldn’t refund the car, that’s Orbitz’s job. So, I went to find a bus. I left the airport and found a bus stop. There were other people there, no vacationers, more the homeless and fringe type of people. I had my laptop bag, my carry-on satchel, my $200 cash in my wallet—staring up at the map trying to figure out which bus to get on. I also feel pretty strong most of the time, but I seemed a tad bit vulnerable at that moment. After hearing some of them talk about no busses going downtown, I decided to leave. I didn’t know if they were right or not, but I decided with my luck to not risk it any longer. Going back to the airport, I found a light rail station and bought a ticket for $2.50 (Finally, a break!). Of course, I couldn’t find the light rail itself. Some sweet Indian girl pointed me to the stairs that I had walked by three times already.

Arriving at the hotel, somewhat flustered (I left out the two different arguments I had with the car rental guy, and then his manager—I don’t like feeling screwed, and I don’t like to loose. I was so mad, I let a few tears escape. It’s a good thing I learned to cry several years ago. If I still had the temper I used to, it could have been a much worse night—and no, no one saw the tears), I went to check in. She ran my card. It was declined (probably still -$18, unless they charge for each attempt). She said they needed $100 to hold onto until I check out. I gave her half my cash, after loosing yet another argument. By this time, I was feeling completely defeated. I simply wanted to get out of town, sleep in a different bed, and not see Chad everywhere I looked and watch our ghosts as we made love that last night and packed the following day, and all that was happening was everyone telling me how broke I am and that I can’t be trusted to get a rental car back in one piece and or to refrain from peeing on the walls of my hotel room. Calling my folks, like a high school kid needing money on a school trip, I borrowed money from them that I will pay back when the hotel checks to make sure I didn’t break the bed frame while fornication with zoo animals. Turns out it was a good thing I didn’t get a rental car. When I called the hotel to check on the price of parking, I thought the man (who couldn’t fucking speak English [I have no problem with that, but really, do they always have to answer phones?]) said it was between $3 and $7 a night. Turns out, it is $37 a night. That would have been half of my spending money. Plus, I am walking miles and miles and miles. Which is good since I am eating everything in sight. I am fitting in all my favorite Seattle foods.

After a quick shower, I found the gay club, and after a watered-down shot of jegger and four beers in fifteen minutes, I spent the next two hours dancing my ass off. For those of you who know me well, you know that it all sweated out of me within two hours and I walked home sober. Although, I did end up in tears for a few minutes when I got back and started thinking of what I had been doing at the same time a year ago. I shook it off and stretched out on the King bed (which is such a bonus of being short—I can’t touch the edges!) and feel into a deep dreamless sleep.

Today has been exactly, EXACTLY, how I hoped it would be. The weather is cool, misting rain—the kind that you don’t feel and somehow doesn’t get you wet. The food has been wonderful. It has been beautiful to be alone. Really alone—not to care about what anyone is thinking. However, unbeknownst to me, there is a Bear celebration this weekend. Bears LOVE me, so it’s been fun to get all kinds of looks and smiles, and nods as I make my way over the city that I fall in love with more every time I visit.

I took an hour and a half long walking tour of the underground of Seattle. I’ve always wanted to do it (I love walking tours), but no one has ever wanted to. It was great! It is amazing all the behind the scenes of our country and cities’ history. All the corruption, sex, and illegal activity of higher and lower classes is nothing new. It was fascinating tour and took me into world that spawned lots of material to be worked into future novels.

I hoped when I sat down to write this that I’d have some better things to say after a year. I can’t say I’m published or any closer. I can’t say my heart is healed. I can’t say I don’t love him any less or that I don’t want him with every breath I take. I can’t say I’ve made progress financially. I can’t say I’m stronger or have more faith than before. However, I can say that I am still thankful for what I had with him and for every second he gave me. Every moment of pain has been a price that was worth paying for the years I had. I still hope he will return one day. I still know he won’t. Things for my family have gotten so much worse. So much worse. However, we are all still alive, together, and love each other, and now we have Gavin. For those reasons, we much better of than many of the rich and comfortable families who are dealing with deaths and absent children. I can say that I have learned what it is like to work until you don’t know if you can keep going, physically and mentally. I have learned, that even though I have so much less time to give to friends, that I have a select few who I truly, TRULY, can depend on as family. I have learned that you can see someone, feel your heart wrench and tear in your chest, as you smile and hug them, tell them you love them and are glad they are so happy. I have learned more and more of my limitations and weaknesses. I have learned the small core of me is stronger and tougher than I’d given it credit.

Now, time to seal the homage back up and continue breathing Seattle air, and enjoy the few hours I have left of sanctuary.

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