Things with Friend had deflated a few days into the trip, with our plans to go to Forks, WA cancelled even sooner. Little Bird was upset that I was sleeping with her and other people at the same time and had asked me to find another place to stay. So I was laying on the big couch at Egan’s house fussing with my waistband. Cramping and singing quietly along to an old Tori Amos VHS , the sugar skulls on the mantle my audience. I felt like my guts were going to fall out, but I was happy. I was cradling a really really stong cup of coffee from the french press,watching the flecks of almond and coffee grounds swirling all together and knowing that the caffine might actually be making me feel worse. I love that Tori looks like she’s getting off when she sings. She was singing about roses and I thought about all the roses in Portland, now dead wet rolled up brown pieces of paper. I thought of the gigantic dead sunflower stalks across the street with their squishy white button tops. Everyone talks shit about the gloomy, rainy Portland winters, but I love it. I thought about how I was to return home in a few days and how nothing on this trip had gone as planned. “You are so cute right now”, Egan said as he came into the living room. I thought he was talking to the cat sleeping on a puzzle. “Just sitting here bleeding and watching Tori…” I smiled and thought yeah, this is exactly where I need to be right now.
Later, I felt better and I rode the bus down to the Hollywood district to the dog daycare I used to work at. My ex co-worker had arranged to sneak me in to see some of my old dog friends. There he was, Quincy, my four year old vizsla boyfriend. He remembered me and so did all the others. It was an amazing feeling to be back with those dogs I had cared about so much.
I left the daycare with a spring in my step and sang out loud walking on the overpass on my way to meet Egan. We met outside Grand Central and he handed me half a grilled cheese because he thought I might be hungry. I thought I might marry him. We caught the MAX downtown and sat so that everything rushed by backwards. Pioneer square looked like a movie, all of the lights and people rushing around christmas shopping . We talked about Aden and love and sex and gender and the past and the future. Egan is my favorite Leo of all time and every time we spend time together I am reminded of how amazing he truly is.
We stopped by Jackpot where he bought a special Efterklang record he was really excited about. After some time at Powells we headed to the bus and were stopped by an old friend from Anchorage who called to us out of the fancy bar she worked at in SW. She invited us in and gave us beer. We gave each other the cliff notes of our life and showed off new tattoos. “This is why I love Portland. Portland just gave us free beer!” I shouted as Egan and I ran to catch the bus.
Over the next two days we watched the Efterklang DVD that came with the record at least three times and I became a fan. I finished the scarf I was knitting for Friend that I had put so much energy into, like a metaphor. And I gave it to Egan as a token of my appreciation for saving my vacation with all the laughter and love.
On Christmas Eve Elena came over and watched Queen of the Damned with me. I gave them a speculum I had stolen from the hospital and we talked about love, relationships, abuse, celibacy and the emotional space we’ve had between us this past year.
On Christmas day I packed up my things, ate too much great food, and laughed with good people. As Egan drove me to the airport all I could think over and over was
How can I leave you? HOW CAN I LEAVE YOU?