Call me old fashioned, but I know this will get to you. This past week I saw you all over Portland. You made me feel at home.
The first thing I noticed were your eyebrows. (How often do you notice someone’s eyebrows?) You were reading one of Jon Stewart’s books at Sisters Coffee. I approved your reading taste with a nod, and you thanked me with a raised eyebrow. Every once in awhile you’d get to one of Jon’s witty punchlines and you’d smile, closed-mouth.
Before I could say anything, you disappeared. I stood up and searched for you. There, outside. You hopped on a bike but not before putting on an enormous helmet. How did you know my weakness? Safety is sexy.
The next night I saw you at Pepe Le Moko. Wearing an un-ironed top, exposing tattoos, and I thought, oh my. I’ve finally found my badass Amy Adams. I was captivated by you and your you-ness. The irreverent jabs at your friend’s melancholy. The way you held your hat as you sipped your bourbon. How you were so good at smiling without showing your teeth. And after seeing you finally show your teeth while smiling, I wished I’d been your mirror the day they took off your braces.
Just as I got up to introduce myself, you disappeared with your friends. And like the snow that night, my head fell.
I went for a walk to ease my mind. Up through the slippery banks, we crossed paths in the Rose Garden. . . or what was left of it after the storm. It was so peaceful I didn’t dare disrupt it by talking to you. Heading back down, I slipped on the ice but caught myself before gravity won. I heard you laugh. I think the whole garden heard. Don’t worry, I took it as a compliment.
I thought I’d lost you again, but at Pine Street Market we both got coffees “to go,” only to sit alone at opposite ends of a communal table. I sat there in silence, waiting for my coffee to cool and my courage to clock in. You inhaled your coffee and bolted to Kure for a smoothie… and paid extra for more greens. Good. You deserve it.
That same night we exchanged looks in the Multnomah Whiskey Library. I felt too underdressed to talk to you. (It’s not everyday you speak to a woman with a bomb ass bowtie.) I overheard your discussion with the staff on references to pop culture in bars. You proudly asked whether someone would make a HAMILTON reference in this one. Is it a question of if, girl, or which one?
Then we bumped into each other at Powell’s. I was entering the poetry section just as you were leaving. You had milk and honey by Rupi Kaur in your hand. So I bought a copy, too, and read it cover to cover in the front lobby.
I saw you at Salt and Straw. I saw you at Sandy Hut. Every brewery I sampled, I saw you.
On my last night in Portland, I sat at the bar in Ken’s Artisan Pizza alone. And suddenly, there you were again. I was embarrassed–I saw you all over Portland and hadn’t said a word to you. Maybe the margherita gave me courage. I looked up from my plate, and your eyes met mine.
“Hello,” mine said, finally.
“Once upon a time…” yours replied, finally.
Tell me the rest of the story. Please, I want to know the rest of the story.