3.12.2005

Ride

Seattle is defined by its summers. They are humbling and beautifully innocent and seem neverending in thier midst. There is never a particular moment when the cold gives way to to the light and bright and renewed pace; summer there creeps up slow and somewhere under the weight of its delicious force makes one believe that this heat and landscape are always like this. Summer there makes you believe its residents are in a constant state of unbroken smiles and irregular tans lined by the constrains of t-shirts and sandals. A routine becomes epic and worthwhile in all the long of the days. Dates become hazy, days stretch into another, and sleep seems of less import as the memory of a balmy late night spent outdoors is with you as every cup of coffee is brought to your lips the following day.
To truly experience a Seattle summer is to take it for granted, ride it out, force yourself to think that everyday is your best for having lived it there--and she will reward you. She will grant to you a beauty that will bring you to tears. Then, once, you will leave your house and your breath is caught in midair, visible milky in the breeze, cars will hesitate upon ignition at thier starting lines and somehow through the rain you will realize that it's October; winter's grip waits just beyond you waiting for you to let this summer die.

That's when I always want to leave. One Seattle winter, I decided Miami was as good a place as any. Winter, I thought, could be solved by airplanes.

In Miami there is no winter, but it bears insane subtropical summers complete with floods and gale force winds. Hurricanes. Tropical depressions. The rain is such as to make my hometown look like a joke; huge quarter sized drops fall in thick and rapid succesion, lightning flashes between the clouds and bolts down between sheets of water to reach the everglades.
When it would rain in Miami, I'd don a t-shirt and a jean skirt and run out my backdoor and up Park avenue barefoot, water pooling halfway up my calves at the curb and splashing around my ankles in the middle of the street. It felt terribly crazy beautiful; violently wet, rain sheeting the palms drumming like turbines. I could ride the stacatto percussion of the weather to somewhere behind my closed eyes where distance did not exist.

That's when I always wanted to leave. One Miami summer, I decided that if even for a brief time, I would have to go back to Seattle. Distance, I thought, could be solved by airplanes.

And so there were--there were airplanes. There were airplanes that brought me closer to people I missed so dearly. There were airplanes that showed me the weight of my character. There were airplanes that solved problems, created trouble, told truths, broke down barriers and then built all those walls right back where they stood. One flight turned to three, to six, to missed connections in Dallas and early mornings at Dulles and I rode them all, silently crying and hoping that somehow I could meld these two worlds of my home and hometown.
There were so many tears and it was all these tears that spurned reservations, plans, requests, confirmation numbers, e-tickets, flight information, me high above invisible lines deliniating time zones. There was a brief moment after my Eastern takeoff, stomach suspended weightless in the cage of my flesh and bones when things seemed possible. A song struck my sentimentalities and I touched down for my Central transfer. I rode over Mountain dumbfounded and when Pacific loomed over the pass seemingly a million miles below, flat but bowed as a marble, I cried and rode in patterns of flight I'd owned before. I knew and anticipated every dip and turn like the last few bars of my favorite song. I rode high above it all, circling north and finally plunging south through the emerald bowl of my hometown. In those moments before my final descent, I began to understand the weight of my arrival.

Obligations, as they will, have no solution but continued effort.

Of all that I had planned to accomplish and all that was at stake it was ten-fold that when I finally arrived. I was not only asked for guidance but for answers. I was expected to deal out solutions like party favors as all the obligations I had fled from years ago were now to be resolved. I tried--I tried my ass off, and at the end of the day, after all of my sacrifices, most seemed unsatisfied. I could never be convincing enough for one, strong enough for another, malleable enough for another still. Summer in Seattle was coming to a close; I had put all my cards on the table, balls out, said and did things I both admire and regret and then at the end of days was curled in a heap on the linoleum stuck in a blanket of tears bracing myself for the cold.

A hurricane hit Florida that summer, and every headline and news brodcast brought my home flooding back to me and I rode each memory of home like a wave from the Atlantic crashing into a dream. I would dream of leaving everywhere I had ever known--one more time--giving up and letting go and this time make all of them come to me. All of them for me--all of thier love would be mine so I would not have to stretch so thin, wear so many faces, be everything to everybody until I had nothing left for me. I dreamt that one day, far from here or there they would ride to me and in thier tears I could be whole, in their eyes beautiful. I wanted to leave them all aloft and wavering, searching for a way to finally grant to me the credit I thought I deserved. I dreamt of a thank you, of some concrete gratitude that could put me back together and let me free to regain the composure of the girl I once was.

Dreams, as they are fated to be, are often unrequited.
Timelines however, change dreams into goals.

So here I go, one more time. I'll ride the bow of the earth seemingly flat to far away, and they and you will ride to me. You will be humble and beautifully innocent within the confines of my routine, and I will offer you the grace of acceptance when you cry for me; I will smile knowing I too was once there. In your eyes I will be beautiful and bright, my pace renewed and convictions revamped. My tears will turn to dreams and then to goals and finally to success and you will ride the long way just to see, to see me and cry for everything unsaid when I needed you to. I will ask of you all of these things, will beg of you to sacrifice for me, to shell out the effort to bridge that gap, to take my tears and cry them as your own. All of you will cry for me and ride to meet me reinvented and gone, smiling and stable, reborn in your tears. You will miss me and make me new, and I will make you do all of this, will bring the guilt with my careful smiles that will ride your tears to wherever I go, wherever I decide to go just for me, just for me this time, and this is what I will say to those I love most.

I could do all of this, bend you at my will and demand you love me like this.

I could ride you until you cried.

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