Next Saturday, the 23rd, I’m reading at In Other Words Bookstore in Portland. Portland is the place I live in my alternate version of my life. After grad school, I had plans to move there, but something always happened that made me extend those plans—-push them just beyond reach.
Seven and a half years ago, I got married there. Tax day, 2001. I love Portland. The clean smell, the biking lanes, the neighborhood quality of the quarters. Four and a half years ago, I was at the Kennedy School House, up half the night peeing, and would find out, a week later, that I was pregnant. Some part of me had known that night, had felt the root of it already.
Two winters ago, I rode a glass elevator up and down in a hotel at a booksellers’ conference, talking on the phone for hours and hours—-all night, several nights in a row—-high on her voice, her stories, her, watching the sky lighten until it glared at me, until it shouted: listen, listen. Your life has changed. Portland.
A city of watershed moments. We’re taking my son with us next week, to see the zoo, the Chinese dinosaur exhibit, the Saturday market. My partner is from Portland, tied, inextricably to the city I adore. The city I stretch toward. The version of myself I aspire to.