About Tonight

I have the feeling you’ve been waiting for panoramic views of Puget Sound, Lake Washington, and Elliot Bay. Unless I forgot to tell you I was leaving Portland to go see Seattle — in which case, don’t mind me.

I went to see Seattle. We had planned on staying for four days, mostly because four days had worked nicely in Portland. I thought we had our approach down to a science: one day to settle in and explore our immediate surroundings, one day to venture downtown, one day to brave public transportation and scope out potential neighborhoods, and one day to walk through a few available apartments. Just to get a sense. Could I see myself living here, or not?

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We didn’t make it past Day Two, in Seattle. And this is why there is a shortage of I-am-on-a-ferry-and-you-are-not Instagrams. (I bet you love those too, don’t you? I bet they make you feel really good about your solo and sun-less summer Sundays.)

This hasty departure also explains why I don’t have any spectacular shots of the Space Needle, or any stills of salmon sailing through the air at Pike Place Market. I’m sorry — I really wish I could have given you those. I don’t even have much to offer in the way of pretty food, which may be a first.

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I do, however, have a picture of the little lamb that Mary had — the one that caused a girl named Hannah ALL KINDS OF TROUBLE. Hannah lives in the suburbs and thinks all four-legged animals should come with a leash, even if said leash never leaves the hook by the door.

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Cows are okay. Cows mean cheese. Cows don’t appear to be going anywhere fast. And they have this surprisingly glossy coat, which I keep thinking I might like to pet. They also have an alarmingly loud moo.

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Now it goes without saying that these are country photos, not city photos. I’m showing you country photos because my city photos are pathetic. Maybe we should just flip through them quickly, so you can get the gist? I’ll be quick — I know there’s nothing worse than feigning an interest in people’s vacation photos. This is Benny, by the pool, and this is Benny, by the beach, and oh! Look! Benny again, but in his new shirt…

I’ll only make you sit through three. One of me forcing a smile at the park, one of me blinking determinedly up the ceiling, and one of me shooting daggers at the gridlock on 1-5. 

Seattle is out. Seattle is out for several reasons, but mainly because I saw Portland first. Or, maybe more likely: because I fell in love with a food cart and it was too much too fast and I knew it but I didn’t even pretend to care. Breathe. Said food cart currently resides in the City of Roses. (Which happens to have no sales tax! If anyone asks, that’s why I want to go.)

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I just want to go somewhere, as soon as possible. We’ve been over this. But there are countless phone calls to make between now and then. And no small amount of appointments to set up — if we’re lucky.

And then I’m guessing there will be several almost-the-same-but-different applications to fill out. Applications I will have to pay for. And then, equally likely: there will be some major disappointments.

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I say that because I’m getting the sense that apartment hunting here won’t be any easier than it was a year ago in Manhattan. I thought it couldn’t possibly be any harder, but…well, I’ll let you know.

I don’t need to decide if I’m really going to move across the country, tonight. No one is asking me to choose between a six or sixty-minute commute downtown, or between an infinitely smaller or larger living space. Not yet, anyway.

And I don’t need to decide, right this minute, if I’m going to do whatever it takes to write, or if I’m going to do whatever it takes to be able to afford a place with some decent light. (And an off-street parking spot. And a washer and dryer, in the unit?)

Tonight, I don’t even have to decide whether I’d prefer a cookie or a dollop of dough.

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I don’t have to decide anything, tonight. There’s only one thing I have to do tonight: remember to breathe. And I have a reminder. A good one. It’s solid and soothing and sweet, and so unlike anything I’d been expecting. 

Tonight it’s a song sent instead of a goodnight said, because that’s where we are, and I played it over and over again, thinking I might just like to stay right here, smiling in the dark.

There’s a lot to be said, about tonight.

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