Fall Break: Portland, Oregon

It’s even greener out here than I expected. As midnight pushed toward morning late Thursday, I came up with an idea that sounded crazy at the time but actually worked out for the better. My flights from Chicago to Denver to Portland were scheduled to commence at 7pm Friday, thus allowing me to attend classes. However, one class was canceled, and since I was only missing two, I figured why not try and get on an earlier flight. The first one to leave Chicago Midway is at 6, and so as dawn crept up on the sleeping city, I was hurtling under State Street in a train bound for the airport. I stood on the outdoor platform of the second train, counting seconds, listening to music not meant for 4:30 am, anything to stay awake.
I made it! The first flight was nice; I sat in the aisle of the first row, which means leg room! There was a lesbian couple next to me attending a wedding in Denver, so we talked for awhile, and then eventually I passed out in my typical plane-sleep position. My head was on my knees, and so the couple next to me thought I was getting sick and tried to help me.
The next flight was sort of successful as well. It didn’t strike me as early, even though it was only 8 in the morning. We sat on the runway for the better part of an hour, me stuck between a thin lady and a huge smelly man who kept talking to me. I hate forced airplane conversations with a passion. I mean, it’s nice to talk and all, but it’s not an inquisition and no I don’t care if your daughter has her own business!
Danny met me at the airport. I was a little worried I would walk right past him in the airport, but I most definitely did not. He hugged me, and we stayed that way for a minute as people flowed around us. It was perfect.
They have their version of the Light Rail here. It’s smoother than the El, and more like the Light Rail. We rode that from the airport to downtown Portland and then got on a bus to his school. It’s beautiful. It’s like something out of a fantasy novel. Green grass, trees, little muddy enclaves for students to disappear into. It’s wonderful, hilly and damp, green turning to orange and red, overcast skies shedding gray light. At times, when the sun comes out, the forests sort of glisten.
We spent Friday meeting his friends. They are very nice. That was inadequate. I’ve been typing the same sentence now for at least two minutes because I’m not sure what to say. They’re fun. It’s been such a perfect long weekend.
Adventure on the way to the hotel. Cab ride, train, and finally the hotel itself. Let me say, you get what you pay for. It was like being back in the 70s. Literally. I think parts of that room were around then, maybe. The V-chip was set so that we couldn’t watch any G rated tv, so we missed some great stuff on Animal Planet and Discovery. I’m not even kidding. We did get to see Meekat Manor, though, and our favorite meerkat died. That was sad. And then I fell asleep.
Saturday we just laid around and watched tv. I wanted to take a bath but then realized there was absolutely no way that was going to happen.
It’s been so wonderful. I’m so much more comfortable with being away from him, now, I think, but time will iron that out.
Tuesday morning, we cried our eyes out on the way to the airport. Once we got there, we stood there crying against each other’s necks for a good ten minutes. Finally, I realized I should probably check in and then we’d have more time to just sit and say goodbye. He walked with me up to the counter, and once I got there, the man couldn’t find my reservation. I was sure I bought the tickets, so once he found it, he looked at me and said: “you’re not supposed to be here.” I was like, well, why not? and he said: “your flight isn’t until tomorrow. there’s no way you’re going to be able to get out of here today.”
danny kissed me right then, and picked me up and swung me around. The man at the counter seemed relieved that I wasn’t sad. I looked at him and said “this is the best news I’ve heard all day.”
So we went back to Lewis and Clark.
On Saturday night, a woman came up to us in a pizza restaurant. She had talked to Danny for a minute previously, and she introduced herself. She said was “Vickie, I’m no one” and then proceeded to tell me that I was absolutely beautiful and that we seemed happy. Then, as she was leaving, she tapped Danny on the knee and said, “count your lucky stars hippie boy.”
And then, oddly enough, the next day on the bus, a man shook Danny’s hand and told him that we were a cute couple.
He took me for walks through the forest, and down this beautiful path, and to the reflecting pool. The day that I was supposed to leave, but didn’t, Mount Hood was remarkably clear. It was ringed with clouds; they just seemed to part around it, like some sort of purple and yellow halo. I tried to take pictures, but Danny didn’t have his camera, so we had to use my camera phone one.
I’ll post them, eventually.
The campus is beautiful. Everyone there is so nice and laid back. It’s nothing like Chicago, at all. There are no blond girls with big boobs. Everyone is doing their own thing. One day, we went through some trees on the other side of a lawn, and walked up some stairs into them. Inside, it was like another world. We were surrounded on both sides by trees, but there was a path through it. We got to a clearing, where the sunlight could get in and the branches made natural sitting spots. I looked back, where we had come from, and saw that it was a singular path leading out of the trees. It is beautiful. The trees are starting to change colors, going from delicious green to a nice rusty red and yellow.
I was worried about this whole relationship on Thursday. I was freaking out that he didn’t love me for some reason. I was nervous, I think, to meet his friends and see the people who get to see him everyday and now I think I’m okay with that. I am much calmer about things.
This is something weird. This feeling is the kind of feeling that people only get in movies. We’re in sync with every aspect of everything. We both think about the future. He makes me laugh. He thinks I’m cute and funny and smart. (He told me.) He kisses my forehead, and then each of my cheeks, and then the tip of my nose every morning.
We sat in his room watching a movie one day and it just turned into us laying there laughing and talking. I miss that.
I met all of his friends, and got along with most of them. I had so much fun. His roommate, eh, not so much. He’s passive aggressive and sort of annoying. He was most definitely not happy about me being there, and especially not when I told him I was staying one more night.
But I haven’t been this happy since I left for school. Everything sort of fits into place again. This morning was horrible, especially. When we woke up, it sort of hit me. He was crying before we even left. I was packing, and I looked up, and he wasn’t looking at me. I looked and saw tears.
It killed me. I started crying, too.
I’m not spending any money this month so we can split plane tickets so we don’t have to spend 44 days apart. It just hurts too much. We agree.
Yay! I didn’t think this would work. And it is. We’re good. I was reassured this weekend. It was like we’d never been apart.
Pictures up soon!
This was updated Wednesday night. Late.

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