From the Rental Car Waiting Room
This is the day I move [back] to Portland.
I wait now in a grey-blue rental car waiting room. The news is on—Garth Kent, of ABC 7 Eyewitness News—in the NW corner; a woman, three seats to my right is tapping her iPhone with her index fingers, glasses slid to the tip of her nose.
Coffee lingers on my breath like when I don’t sleep enough and get ready to fly somewhere and smell my breath in a moment of hazy remembrance while standing in line to board. A familiar taste indeed: new things after traveling, with the possibility of a headache if I don’t nap soon.
There are pudgy men outside explaining car mechanics to a pudgy woman in large sunglasses and a floral-patterned shirt. The wind is hot and dry out there because Southern California is a desert, unlike Oregon.
My mind is tired, my heart full. I am digesting the last two weeks. Were my heart a bucket it would need a gutter all around it, for I don’t want to lose the memories of friends and their hugs and prayers. More than I can recall now anyway—my twenty or so meetings since quitting my job and getting ready to leave have molded together like steel above fire. I remember ten percent of all the loving and thoughtful words said to me. Ten percent. But, I remember one-hundred and ten percent of all that has been shown to me about what I mean to my friends. That extra ten percent falls over the brim and into the gutters. I will collect them again soon, sometime in the next month or two when I need them—when I need to feel the love of my people. I have reserves built up, ready to overflow my portion again. I have no way to fail; I have no ways to know how to not be loved.
A Mexican man—headphones swallowing his ears like lobster arms holding his head—whose phone makes noises, sounds that may or may not be known to him. He is in all black, his face down, his hands full of technology.
It is 11:50, and in ten minutes Hertz will rent me my vehicle. I will fill it to its capacity; I imagine using my shoulders to close the doors. I will pull the arms of my sunglasses over my ears, flick on the air-conditioning, turn to my travel companion, Les, and say, “well, here I go again.” He will nod and may say, “that’s right, man. That’s right.”
Five minutes now. The grey-blue room around me has failed to swallow me like the Moby Dick esophagus that it resembles. I can still see the sunshine outside, and I’m going to bring it with me all the way to Portland.