Bye and Bye
There’s a place in the world that my heart took as home long before I ever considered calling it that. In a window seat, on the right kind of day, a certain few mountains reach up and out of clouds to beckon you nearer an oasis of earth and hip.
It with its verve and its vivid charms. Boys baking bread in vintage denim. Campfire as a purchasable scent. A collective hum and jangle of loosely-strung guitars, colliding coffee cups, popped tops on tall cans of beer. I came and went for years. Always attaching a bit more of myself to the town. Always taking a bit of it with me when I’d go. By car I’d carve my way through a thatch of pine needles and pudding-thick fog. Sometimes tire chains would tick in rapid succession over icy roads under almost-clear skies. And other times, still, the sun would shine, calling into question its dreary reputation.
It was a hopeful destination in any kind of weather. Infallible and full of promise.
And then one day a certain person came back to me. Hurtled back into my life in a fit of text messages riddled with innuendo and curiosity, phone calls about bicycle-ridden burrito hunts, perfect photographs of baked goods. “Come back,” he said, “and we’ll do that thing we never got to do.”
But as quickly as the thing was realized, the magic got lost.
So now that place will always ring like loss to me. Loss and thievery. That place over there with its curtain of rain bludgeoning what would effectively become our first and last real walk as “us.” And I, in those shoes with the holes in the soles. The weather out there has no mercy for poorly thought out footwear.
Unable to blink the torrent from my eyes, I followed him near-blindly past blue and yellow houses. Neon porches. Rock walls. Family gardens–organic or otherwise. Cats that bit and cats that purred. As we grew wetter, the rubber of my soles whinnied in empathy.
It never occurred to me to detest the grey of the day. It never once crossed my mind that this almost-frigid town, with its unyielding downpour, was anything less than paradise. Because of his warm hand? And the depth of his vocabulary? And their mutual proclivity for flannel and dark denim? Of course. Those things can blast sunlight onto any drear.
The eventual memory of poor timing and cruel distance get remedied in a certain way.
My nose and fingers and teeth, and the eyes of my heart recall the chilly mist and the way we became an absolute part–an extension of our surroundings. He, smelling thickly of pine like the walls of branches to my right and his left and I impossibly equating the weather to the doom of our four-day union. This place would be our sanctuary and our sepulcher–frozen where it stands and unable to be revisited.