Portland redux and thoughts

I’m trying to blog a bit more than usual while we are on this road trip.  I often find that my entries, though they may mean little to me or anyone else in the moment, serve me well down the road to trigger memories and recall times and places that have been meaningful in my life.

Rick and I are back on the road, tonight we sleep in Boise.  We left Portland early this afternoon after a tasty meal at Jam on Hawthorne.  We really enjoyed our time in Portland.   I’m a bit unsure if the good times are a product of Portland itself or the fact that we have lots of friends there who make our visits to the city feel fun, and who introduce us to all their favorite spots and activities.  While at Jam I had a great conversation with a guy who touched on exactly what my main issue with Portland is, however:  its ego.  I’ll fully admit the city is fun, has great food, and has a neat alternative vibe.  I just think many Portland residents sort of think the city is in a class of its own and I’m just not sure that I agree. There are some glaring things that Portland lacks – diversity, easy access to other cities, and sunshine. This morning on our run Rick and I were weighing the positives and negatives and I just don’t think Portland pulls definitively ahead of any other city we have looked at, except that we have friends there who would make it an easy place to settle into.

But, no time to dwell on that.  There is much more to see.

Sadly, my phone took a bit of a swim yesterday while I was attempting to rescue an egg-laden dungeness crab from death by seagull consumption while on the coast clamming. Many of the great photos I took while there  are locked away in a bag of rice until further notice. Perhaps it is good though – now I’ll be forced to use my camera more. We travel to Jackson Hole, Salt Lake City, and Colorado in the next few days so there will surely be some good sights to see ahead.

As I sit here in our quiet hotel room after seven hours on the road, it strikes me just how strange this trip is.  Rick and I are more or less without a home.  We are roaming the country as fairly well-equipped gypsies; sleeping on couches and in guest rooms.  I feel entirely discombobulated, off my schedule, and generally out of balance in some ways.  Long hours in a car are not ideal, and I’m  getting to the point of just wanting to know what home will eventually be, rather than feeling enthusiastic about a search that seems increasingly to complicate our decision.  This drive has brought me to some wonderful places, but also places that tear at my heartstrings for various reasons.  I miss the friends we had in Denver and my sisters and my best friends, and people I wish I could see more of, all scattered around the country.  I just want the people I love to be in one place, and to make my home there among them.  It’s naive, but it’s true.  And sometimes the feeling of being torn between all the people I love makes me so frustrated I just want to cry.

Rick and I amazingly have taken the ups and downs of this trip – the endless hours together on the road and with friends – in stride.  I think if ever there was an opportunity for uncertainty and lack of direction for the future to come between us it would be now, but we seem to be riding the waves pretty well together. He has been incredibly supportive of my job search and together we have parsed out where we have commonalities in what we seek, and where we differ. Rick thinks the food in Portland is overrated, and I love it.  I think I might feel isolated in a small town, and Rick thinks it would suit him. Together I guess we need to figure out what balance will work best for both of us – where we might want to have a home, a family, and a life.  These are not small matters.  I hope that in the end, we come away with some clarity and a more clearly articulated vision for our future.

Would You Stay?

Watch the above video.  It always makes me cry.  Read below and you’ll see why.

Two years ago, today, I was presented with a difficult choice.  I learned that my boyfriend at the time had cheated on me.  It wasn’t the first time, and I hadn’t always been faithful either.  We had a tumultuous relationship, we’d done a lot of distance, we’d tried being “open,” we’d questioned ourselves, we built layers of scar tissue upon layers.  But, this time it was in my face.  The girl contacted me.  Told me she was sorry.  She wanted to be friends.  She was, sweet, almost as if she didn’t realize she’d blown a hole in my life.

I loved him.  With my whole being. I hated him for what he did.  I felt the kind of loveanger that makes you crazy and blind at the same time— completely unreasonable, completely set on ending it, completely unaware of how to live without it.  I cried mascara stains into my pillow case.  They never came out.  I knew that I had to make a change.  So, I called him to my house in Denver, sat him down, and told him I couldn’t live life wondering when my next Silda Spitzer moment was going to happen.  We had to be over.  It wasn’t a choice so much as an inevitability.

Since that time, a lot has changed.  He has moved on.  I have moved on.  We had our stumbles.  We had our tearful, rambling phone calls. Loss, over the phone line, is almost more poignant than loss and sadness in your living room, on your couch.  The distance magnifies it – the tinny sound of human on wire, over waves, through space.

Our souls fell out of solution.  Grains, one by one, falling to a cold, still bottomplace, where they rested.  Today, we live on different continents.  Lives separated by oceans, time zones, easterlies and westerlies, accents, seasons.  We share nothing.  Nothing, that is, but the history of loss.

These days, I don’t mourn the loss of that love.  I miss the boy I knew who was fragile and sweet.  I miss his insightful way of seeing the world. I feel sad that there was the callousness within each of us to hurt each other so badly.

I can’t imagine acting the way we acted anymore.  I can’t imagine inflicting that kind of pain on my new love.  I bristle at the childish notion that our hearts were so resilient.  They aren’t.  They continue beating, but the scars are still there, torquing the muscles, creating heart murmurs that whisper through stethoscopes to us, telling us not to make the same mistakes again.

And I won’t.