I haven't had much of a chance to post over the last week-plus, mainly because I was in Seattle and my friends kept me very busy. This is the time, though, when I should be very active on this blog. There's one week left until departure! After this long wait (secen years, if you think about it!) I'm finally heading out of here in one week. I'll try to post my packing list and some other thoughts here, on the eve of my departure.
The trip to Seattle was incredible. After leaving Oregon, I went up to Bellingham to stay with my dad and stepmother for a couple of days. Then they had to fly off to Central and South America, respectively, so I went to stay with my friend Ryan for three nights and my friend Greg for two. Ryan's wife, Liz, was in her 9th month of pregnancy and due any time, and as it turned out, they induced labor the night before I was to leave. Due to a mix-up with some boxes I needed (which I stupidly left in Ryan's trunk) Greg and I went up to the hospital late Thursday night to meet up with Ryan and make a swap -- my boxes for a DVD we had rented under his name. I could hear Liz in there moaning and screaming in the throes of childbirth. Turns out, had we shown up just a half hour later, Greg and I might have actually seen Ryan's baby boy (Wesley Cole) before I had to leave. But it was still interesting that I was there when it all went down. Some of the almost magical closure, like what I experienced in Tallahassee a couple weeks ago.
And the run of odd coincidences and circumstances continued throughout the trip. While I was in Bellingham, out of the clear freaking blue my ex-wife Michelle called me. She was astonished when I answered, and she said she was only testing the number to see if it was still active. She was expecting me to be in the Pacific somewhere, and I realized we hadn't spoken since October, when I still held out hope for a November departure. She asked where I was. I couldn't exactly lie to her, so I said "Bellingham." "Get OUT!" she cried, in astonishment, perhaps expecting to hear somewhere in Florida. "Are you going to make it down to Seattle?" I paused, again not wanting to lie. But I didn't exactly want to meet up with her, either. Those who have read this blog will remember we didn't part in the best of circumstances, and I do hold quite a bit of resentment toward her for how things went down. But yeah, I said, I'll be in Seattle. So she wanted to meet up. I gave her a very non-committal "yeah, we can do that," and she could tell immediately that I had reservations. But after some thought over the next day or two, I realized I probably should, so at the very least I could give her my contact info and that way she can pay me the money she owes for our divorce settlement.
Turns out, we couldn't meet up. I had to return the rental car on Monday and then had no way out to where she was the other days. So instead, we chatted on the phone. As we did so, some of my anger and resentment toward her eased a little. It seems her life hasn't been too wonderful since our divorce -- all understatement aside, it's been awful. I won't, of course, divulge all the details because they're private, but I will say I know her well enough to know when she's exaggerating or playing something up for pity, and this was very real. She lost everything she owned to a fire at the storage unit in Atlanta (everything: her photo albums, her wedding dress, her artwork, her books, her mementos, everything). And from there things got worse. She now works at a couple restaurants in the Seattle area and lives in Greenwood and is starting to put the pieces of her life back together. She said she's starting to get a better sense of herself and regain some balance in her life. Listening to the details, I couldn't help but feel a little sad for her, but also one phrase kept repeating in my mind: karma's a bitch.
At least it was nice to get that conversation in before I depart. When I come back I'll have some money coming my way from her, by hook or by crook, but until then I hope she can find some success and order in life.