I stop looking for a job. I stop considering a future here. Portland is beautiful in its rainy days and soaked streets. I could belong here, maybe, if I let myself. The truth is my wanderlust is piping up for the last time this year. I am in backwards migration. It’s time to head North. I imagine my city buried in leaves and in need of excavation. The people I care about cozy in their respective homes. I long to knock on a door or two, surprise them. I miss my leather boots and my red pea coat. I miss waking up early and making strong coffee for my parents. I miss curling into a chair with a good book and a cat on my lap—so content to be my leg warmer.
The apples run out quickly. Not surprising when each bite reminds me of home. My phone vibrates incessantly. A nagging thought in the back of my mind. A pebble in my shoe. I make plans and then blow them off. I bide my time. I talk with a boy deep into the night until I grow restless and detached. Maybe it’s the exhaustion. Could be self-preservation. I get cagey and my legs itch to run. My arms spread imaginary wings. I look longingly into the sky.
I dread that airport, still marred in disappointment. He has new pictures up. The cowboy hat intact, poised against another desert. He told me once he would follow me. Into the mountains or to the sea. Anonymous in the crowd of a city or working a farm. Whatever I want. But, this is where he belongs. Sand as far as the eye can see. Dry storms and dust. A solitary figure in a frame. Eyes shaded against the sun.
I am as restless as the wind, never knowing what I want. I grow cold and can be shut out but not contained. Often, I am friendly—dancing scraps of paper into gutters and bringing beauty where there was none. Sometimes, I am cruel—burning against cheeks and stinging tears into eyes. I crawl up the spine of unsuspecting victims and make them huddle for warmth. You can lick a finger, offer it to the air, and I may let you know me for a while. You can name me but will never own me. You can bless me or curse me. The love is just as unpredictable, always the same. I want to belong, I do. To someone or somewhere. But, I was named for a whirlwind and my nature is determined. I am always changing direction and when I go I always end up leaving someone behind.
The Whitest Boy Alive – Intentions