In Seattle the rain didn’t bother me. I’d put on my hoodie and walk all over town. Like a native, I didn’t carry an umbrella. The city would be saturated for six months so that it almost felt like I was walking underwater. I half expected to see jellyfish swim up out of Puget Sound and dart about among the tourists at Pike Market. Purple and undulating across the gray horizon.
But here the rain is harder. More persistent. It keeps me indoors. Pent up in my apartment with hot chocolate and a book. Here there is nowhere to walk to anyway, except a convenience store, or fast food franchise. (Not that I wouldn’t brave a monsoon for a McRib.)
Remind myself for the millionth time that this suburban existence is only temporary. That early next year we’re moving to New York City. There, even the most mundane activities will be rendered sophisticated by proxy. Doing laundry will become doing laundry in New York City. No matter what I do, I’ll be infinitely cooler than all of my friends who won’t be living in New York City. Imagining finally being able to look down on someone is the only thing that gets me through the long, gray days here.
Here I have no friends. Here the clerk at the 7-11 is the only person I interact with during the week. His red and black shirt, and the name tag it never occurs to me to read. I think he has a crush on me. When I walk over for a pint of ice cream, or a banana, or a big gulp, he always breaks into a ridiculous grin. Asks what my plans are for the evening. I’ll point to my ice cream and say, “You’re looking at it.”
The truth is, I only make so many trips because I work from home and get so sick of looking at the walls of my apartment that I have to get out, even if it’s only to go to the 7-11.
Growing up as an only child in rural Texas, solitude never bothered me. I was always able to keep myself entertained by retreating into my imagination. Even as an adult I’d fantasize about being incarcerated and put in solitary confinement just so I wouldn’t have to interact with other people.
Now, I find myself surprised to feel suddenly isolated.
In Portland, on our weekends together, I overcompensate and drive Carlos crazy with my constant babbling.
“What if our plane crashed in the Andes and we were forced to eat each other to survive? What part of my body would you start with, and how would you prepare it?” I ask. Spooned in his bed, my arm around him. He’s trying to sleep, but I’m wide awake, pestering him with every inane thought that pops into my head.
“Your tongue, so you’d stop talking.” He says.
I get the hint and kiss the back of his neck. After a while I hear his breathing change and know that he’s fallen asleep. These weekends together are temporary too. In a few months we’ll be living together full time. Think, maybe I should enjoy the solitude and the space while I still have it.