2nd & Pike



I am sitting by the window at Pho Vîet on Pike when I see my ex wife walk past, arms swinging and happy like she used to be before the bad times.

I don’t even have time to knock on the glass when my childhood best friend goes past in the other direction, riding my bike he borrowed and never returned. He hasn’t aged a day.

Then I get a look behind him, high up on the concrete parking ramp. It’s my old Westfalia, the one I smashed into an Iowa drainage ditch in the midst of the bender that sent me to prison for three years and eventually made me sober. It looked like new, not a scratch on her. I remembered that time I run out of gas at the top of a disused logging road in the Olympic, the rain pelting through the pines and turning the road to gumbo. I lay beneath that camper roof and listened to the water sluice and spatter the canvas an inch above my face, as alone as a man can be and perfectly satisfied in that condition.

And son of a bitch, who should it be but my old dad racing past on the Vespa I never saw in person but only in  a black and white photo I lost long ago. He is grinning and younger than when he married my ma, curly black hair ruffling in the slipstream.

I leave without paying and run straight up 2nd Avenue. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Don't just stand there.