Trying Not to Think Too Hard

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A friend calls to invite me to a potluck. “It’s actually a book club,” she says, “but you should come anyway because nobody really read the book.” So I go, and people are actually speaking to each other—people outside of my head, not characters, but real humans in audible English. I listen to them and marvel. It feels good to hear other people talk about big ideas. Book lovers, I think. I love book lovers. I stay late. Hug people goodbye. Get home and clean the house as though my life depended on it. By 2 a.m. I’m exhausted and crash.
The next day, I go to acupuncture. I go on a long walk. While I’m walking, I have a premonition that a snowstorm rolls in and the mountain man is driving down Hurricane Creek Road and offers me a ride. He is the only person I know who lives on this road and I am 3 miles from home and—though perfectly happy to keep walking in the snow—stupidly wore drab colors for a walk where now, cars passing at 50 miles per hour, will hardly see me.
While on the walk, the premonition comes true even though I left on a sunny afternoon for my walk and the last person on the planet I wanted to see was the mountain man. He pulls over in a total white out. He opens his car door. “What the hell are you doing?” he says. “Get in!” I stand in the snow, speechless. The ghost of me gets it his car. The soul in me is lost, lost. The rest of me is somewhere in the middle.
Later that night, the mountain man comes over—he’s been here before. He convinces me he’s not so aloof as I’d formerly thought. And I’m convinced. At least for a night. Screw it, I think. It’s almost spring break. I’m lonely as all get-out. I’m terrified I’ll never be married and I’m terrified I’m too forgiving and yet I know, I know, I’m a damn good lover and a damn good friend and a smart woman to boot. So I say yes, come in. Yes, you can cook me dinner. Yes, and yes and yes. He brings steak for an appetizer (Really? Really.) He cooks corned beef hash. He poaches farm fresh eggs. He caramelizes onions and grills potatoes. His legs are so muscular they look like tree branches, but in a good way. I didn’t even know legs could grow that way. By the end of the night, the wine is gone.
Tomorrow? Who the hell knows.
I give up on principle. I give up on discipline. I give up on anything but the written word, the slurred speech of tipsy, and the secret utterances of the body that can talk the mind to sleep. Just get me to Saturday, so I can drive 300 miles to Portland and into the arms of the pals who know me and love me. A real kind of love.
I left North Carolina on January 8th and drove 2700 miles, then stopped. It’s time to keep driving. It’s time to go to the first place I called home. Portland, here I come! Just give me a few more days. I’ll be there soon.
Showing 4 comments
  • Amy Z

    Wow, Katey. This is a brave and beautiful post. I love it. I hope Portland is fruitful and nourishing for you.

  • Kyle Lang


    I normally don't like to cuss on these things, but F'in GET HERE!!! We love you. Thanks for sharing that piece. It was beautiful and raw.

  • Courtney Martin

    just lovely katey.

  • Jo Ann Heydron

    I find it impossible to believe that a great partner isn't in store for you. Could happen any second.

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