i started keeping a journal when i lived in portland. my first entry was on halloween. i had interviewed that week for a job i was over qualified for and i learned on halloween day that i had been turned down for it. i felt like such a failure. j and i were out running an errand across the river that day. he drove me home saying sweet things to comfort me. i felt lower than nothing. his words were appreciated but they could not help me.
i didn’t go in when we got home. i sat on the steps of our building and i started writing my thoughts. i wrote about feeling like a failure, but mostly i wrote about sitting there on the steps.
a girl in normal clothes walked by carrying a horse head mask. i remember observing that her boots were well-suited to be “hooves.” i felt sad and jealous because for some reason j and i didn’t do anything for halloween. (why didn’t we? money…?)
“i’m sitting outside,” i wrote. “i don’t think i want to be sitting outside. i’m pretty sure i don’t want to go in. […] i’m sitting on the cold steps. they’re hard. […] i don’t know why i am sitting here.”
as it got dark and colder and my butt hurt from the stone steps, i picked myself up and went in. i laid on the bed and cried. i was so broken. i felt like so much failure. j rubbed my head.
i cried like someone close to me had died. i didn’t understand why i was turned down for that job or why i was taking that fact so hard.
the next day i learned i had gotten a job in a lower position with the same company. that was a really good day. i confessed to j something i had realized the day before: “i’m afraid i won’t get a job, will run out of money, you won’t want me anymore, and i’ll have to move back to kentucky.” he assured me that was absurd. i said i knew that, but it was such a relief to know i would have some income now. the money i had saved was beginning to run low and my anxiety was increasing daily.
we rode our bicycles all over portland that day. it was the only day i rode my bike in portland. i remember watching the ground whiz by 20 feet below me as we crossed metal grating by the river. i stopped at steel bridge to take pictures. i loved the image of j on his bicycle next to yellow and blue graffiti on the dark bridge. i filed it away in my mind as a location to shoot pictures of him for his albums or promotional materials someday. or just because.
i almost got run over by a train that day on my bicycle. j nearly had a heart attack when he turned around and didn’t see me. his concern was sweet. i wanted to jump off my bike and hug him for it. i didn’t, but i reached over and rubbed his back affectionately when we were waiting at a stoplight a few minutes later. i wasn’t wearing my helmet. we didn’t know where it was and the truth is i hate wearing it. so i just didn’t. i felt both free and stupid.
i don’t live in portland anymore. my time there was brief: october 7th – november 9th. i will write about the incredible adventure there and the events of my departure some other time.
i miss portland. i miss the person i shared it with; what i thought we had but… perhaps never did? once-cherished memories assault me, though i am told they won’t forever. i remember both too much and not enough. i know i was intensely anxious while i was there, but that’s not what i remember. i have to tell myself that i was, because what i remember is the magic of being in a totally new and really cool place with a person i loved, beginning a brand new chapter of life together. we were going to pursue our individual dreams there and work alongside each other as well; he with his music and me with my design.
and details. i remember so many details. of fleeting and important moments shared and insignificant things i observed from day to day. like specific unevennesses in sidewalks. the thick, dark blue carpet on the back stairs in my building that i thought i would be trekking up and down for years to come. the duct tape over the arrows on the exit signs. the way the laundry room door scraped the floor. the ugly red they’d painted the pipes. the way j smiled at me and i smiled back every time i closed the door behind me to take a load of laundry down to wash. i enjoyed doing laundry there. i’d stand in front of the dryer waiting for it to finish and watch the yellow leaves on the ground outside the window. fall is my favorite.
and fall in portland is the most magical.