February 20th, 2010

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

Seven years ago

Seven years ago last night we landed at SeaTac with our worldly possessions in a suitcase or two and a drugged-out cat in her carrier. Florida was a bad dream, and behind us. We were in the Pacific Northwest at last. We stopped off for something to eat and then drove, in a hired car, from Seattle to our hotel in Bellingham - the Rodeway Inn, chosen because the cat could check in with us. The cat in question - my step-cat, Domino, whom I inherited when I married rdeck, woke up at last after a long drugged sleep during which it had endured the flight and yowled and whimpered pitifully all the way up the I-5, and then spent that night crawling all over me - up onto the bed, over my hip, down my shoulder, onto the bedside nightstand, down to the floor, rinse and repeat - probably trying to make all this go away and could she go back to her home in Florida now, please, pretty please, right now...? We left her in the room when we woke the next morning, a bedraggled and pitiful handful of unkepmt fur sitting in the bathtub looking forlorn, and went down looking for breakfast. The offerings at the hotel seemed limited to a small cabinet-top on which reposed a coffee pot, a tray of tired looking bread, and a toaster. We opted to cross the parking lot and go over to the restaurant next door, Eleni's, a Greek place which seemed to be open for breakfast.

Seven years ago today, it was raining when we walked into Eleni's and sat down to eat. Their coffee (as we would discover over the years, because we returned to this place often before it closed down last year) could range from decent to indifferent; I don't remember what it was that morning, but it was welcome, and we sat staring out at the Pacific Northwet outside. We phoned our estate agent from the payphone in the entrance hall of the restaurant; we went to the title signing place, put down our final signatures on the last of the paperwork, and received the keys to our new house.

Seven years ago today, on a gray and cold Pacific Northwest morning, we unlocked our new front door and stepped into this empty house. It contained us, the suitcase, the cat, and a care package we had mailed to ourselves just before we left Florida - a couple of cooking pots, a few pieces of cutlery, a blanket.We went out to acquire necessities - like another blanket, some food, a couple of chairs to sit on (we found a couple of folding ones at Goodwill for a handful of bucks; they'd have to do until the rest of our stuff came along). We came back to an expanse of empty rooms and a view of dripping naked maple branches just outside the glass sliding doors of the dining room; outside, the deck was covered with heavy wet leaves which hadn't been swept in months. In the front of the garden there was nothing but a daunting tangle of blackberry and fern. We made our beds, until such time as a real one arrived, on the floor in the master bedroom, looking out into our cedars. We could not stop smiling.

Today the sun is shining, and the resident squirrels are squabbling over the bird feeder. There are apples on the kitchen counter for the visiting deer. Outside, aside from some obstinate blackberry roots still lurking underground, the garden is a riot of budding things - hyacinths and daffodils poking their green heads out of the ground, rhododendrons in the sunlight, lilacs with fat buds at the end of their branches, future flowers gathering on the still-bare twigs of the dogwood tree, primroses in bloom. I am in my office looking out into my world. And I am purely, simply, happy.

Seven years ago, we came home.