I’ve been in Portland for seven days. The time is feeling both long and leisurely and wickedly fast. So far, the trip has been wonderful.
I had dinner a couple of nights ago with a friend I’ve known since the sixth grade. She and her family moved into a house four down from ours in the Southwest Portland neighborhood we lived in from 1990-1994. I was so excited to have someone my age living down the street that I overwhelmed her slightly with my friendliness and enthusiasm. Thankfully, she didn’t hold it against me. She moved to Germany after college, and so I’ve probably seen her three times in the last six years. We reconnected last February, when I had a vivid dream about her, and called her house, thinking I would ask her mom for her email address. Only she answered the phone, home because her dad had recently died. We’ve been in email since then and lucky for me, she relocated to Portland about a month ago.
Seeing her was a delight and so easy. There’s something about old, old friends that makes them feel like family, and it is possible to relax in their presence down to the insides of your being. I feel lucky to have people like that in my life.
Last night I went to see my sister perform at the Alberta Pub. She’s been playing the Free Hot Cocoa Happy Hours there all December, and loves the notion of free hot cocoa almost as much as having the gig. We walked into the pub, shedding the tension of a minor family disagreement as we moved into the light and warmth of the room. Waiting inside, sipping a glass of hot apple cider, was Raina’s middle-school best friend, Kelen. Raina hadn’t seen her in nearly eight years, and it had been more like ten for me. She is living a happy life, doing something she loves on the first try out of grad school. I tried to emphasize, without being too much of the obnoxious older sister, how fortunate she is to be earning a living doing something that brings her joy, and that she shouldn’t think that just because something else down the line might be different that it will be better.
Seeing my sister perform is always a transcendental experience for me. She is so talented and full of light that I am left blinking, wondering if that’s really my little sister up on stage, and if so, how she manages such a transformation. When I listen to her play, there’s really no place I would rather be.