No really, this is it. I was able to spend some last few moments with Seattle. It's always been with a group around, though I would have liked to have had lunch or coffee just us. I was distressed because I was afraid I had missed part of the time with him. I arrived late to a beach bonfire. I talked to a few people and didn't see him anywhere. Then he arrived with his sister. My heart skipped a beat. We hugged.
Savvy: Hey Seattle. How are you? This must be your sister. It's nice to meet you.
Seattle: Yes, this is.
Savvy: Seattle was kind enough to introduce me around.
Seattle: Aww, thanks.
Sister: Nice to meet you.
Savvy: Umm, I got you a gift for your trip. Just a little something.
Later I had to go to the bathroom and when I returned I saw where Seattle and his Sister were seated. I decided to move. I placed a hand on his shoulder.
Savvy: I want to sit with you since you're leaving.
Unexpectedly, the pastor said that it was important to talk to people you don't know very well, to deepen relationships in the group. He told us to take a safety person and go talk. Nice. I'm so glad I moved.
Savvy: I think I qualify as someone you don't know very well. And Sister, you qualify as the safety.
Seattle: Sure that works.
We talked about the Forth of July and all things Seattle. They told me about their long trip up the coast and all the places they would stop.
Savvy: Since we're talking about little known facts about Seattle. I have something of a Seattle demon to conquer.
Savvy: I was supposed to go the UW and even had a scholarship, but then I chickened out because I didn't know anyone up there.
Sister: Well, now you do. In fact you know two. You should come on up.
Savvy: Well, we'll see what happens. I haven't been up to travelling, but I think I might be soon. I have some people I need to visit once I'm done with physical therapy.
We talked about his work.
Seattle: My plan is to infiltrate, find a way to take credit for everything and then I'll be indispensable.
Savvy: Perfect. And take lots of pictures of your trip--I'm so envious. I only every made it Crescent City. I really enjoyed your Mt. Baldy pictures. I totally understood them.
Seattle: You did?
Savvy: Yes, your comments were exactly what I would want to know.
Seattle: Really? That's so cool. I always want to know which way I'm looking.
And finally at the end of the bonfire, I did what I did at the last bonfire. Clean.
Sister: Wow, you're totally taking control of cleaning up.
Savvy: I can't just let it sit. I used to work for a beach cleanup group and it just bothers me when people don't respect our resources.
Sister: Good for you.
Savvy: Hey, I found some chocolate that wasn't opened, you think you can use that for the trip?
Sister: Oh yes, I can always use some chocolate.
Savvy: Oh, I don't want you guys to the think that the gift is a big deal or anything. It's a long trip, so I got some flares.
Savvy: I can also see your brother wanting to help people, and they might come in handy at any time.
I liked her reaction, the only better one was Seattle's. He smiled.
Seattle: Flares. Nice. Thank you. Did you find them while cleaning the other day?
Savvy: No, I bought them. I had to mystery shop an auto supply place and we have to buy stuff.
Seattle: Do you get to keep what you buy?
Savvy: No, I can return them if I don't want them, but sometimes I need stuff. I have a ton of flares in my car.
Like he was actually interested in the flares. I was terrified he would ask me why I got them. He was about to hug me goodbye.
Savvy: So are you guys going to go for the Kogi tacos?
Seattle: I think we have the time, it's only 10. What do you think, Sis?
Sister: I think we should go. You can't have me come down here, tell me about it and not take me there.
Savvy: I will probably never go again unless I'm with friends, I'm in.
Yelling over a large crowd is not the best way to get to know people, but sometimes it can work out. Sister and I went to the bathroom, when I returned, everything had been ordered, and another friend showed up.
Seattle: I got us nine tacos.
Sister: I'm getting drinks, what will you have?
We told her our favorite brews.
Savvy: So, Sis, I don't understand how it is that Seattle is still single.
Sister: He takes relationships very seriously, I do too, and for the past year he knew he was leaving. It makes dating anyone a little bit difficult.
It wouldn't have bothered me. A good man is worth moving for.
Savvy: Makes sense, I guess. I take relationships very seriously. I mean, I'll go out with people, but actually having a relationship is something else.
Sister: I married a guy I knew way back in junior high and we had our pictures from way back then for the invitations.
Savvy: That's so cute! I'm actually having a pretty bad time. I mean, I get lots of dates, but sometimes I'm shocked at people. This one guy asked me to go back to his hotel room the night we met.
Sister: Did you slap him?
Savvy: No. I actually went out with him another night, but I thought I could never could answer right to the question of how we met, so I didn't really want to see him again.
Sister: I remember those days.
I genuinely liked his sister, even if I hadn't met her through Seattle. I really hope that offer to visit is sincere. We talked about how we had been fired from lots of jobs. We moved to sit outside and continued talking about the place, the food, and the trip.
Savvy: I can't believe how disciplined you are. When I left New York I kept going on last hurrahs and I left everything for the last minute because I had to go to a Yankee's game, or off to see Jose Limon dance company, or to see one final show or opera in the park. I wouldn't have said no to going out to lunch after church like you did.
Seattle: I've been doing that for the last month though, so I really had to get things together. This is the last hurrah for real.
Savvy: The last, last last, last to the 93rd power. So how come your car is still empty?
Sister: We have to go back to the apartment and pack up the car tomorrow.
Seattle: I had some really fun CDs!
Sister: Seattle, here, actually packed his CDs.
Savvy: Oh no! Well if you have a radio station you like, it should last until about Camarillo, but then you'll have to find something else. If you liked classic rock, you could listen to KTYD.
Seattle: Sounds like you've done that before.
Savvy: Well, I used to go to school at UC Santa Barbara. Do you like classic rock?
Seattle: No, I like jazz. I used to play the saxophone.
Savvy: Ah, the devil's instrument, it was known to make women swoon when it was first invented.
I saw stars. Jazz! I love jazz, but sometimes I hide my true tastes because people make assumptions about you. Men don't seem to have that concern. It bothered me that he didn't seem completely comfortable. He checked his watch and moved away from me a little. Already? He was about to leave for real and forever.
Savvy: Do you guys have to go?
Seattle: Yes, let's walk you back to your car. I called the hotel to let them know we would be late, but still.
Sister: You're the boss.
In the last few moments we talked about getting our advanced degrees and how he went to the beach to do nothing after turning in his thesis. And then there was lots of hugging.
Savvy: It was so good to meet you, Sister. Have a great trip.
Sister: You, too. Don't forget to come up and see us in Seattle.
Then it was Seattle's turn. I opened my car door and hopped onto the inside of the door. He's really tall and I'm just 5'2" on a good day.
Savvy: I want to give you a proper hug. Have safe trip.
There was so much I wanted to say, but I didn't want to cry. He turned back as he walked away.
Seattle: I'm so glad you came to church.
Savvy: Me too... Keep in touch.
Seattle: Will do.
And that was it. I hoped that when he was saying he was glad I came there that he was thinking of himself--his church, just in time to meet him. I waved to them as they continued north on the freeway and I turned east toward home. I just wanted to be happy that I knew him, even if only for a short time. On a friendship level alone, I feel a loss because he looked out for me. A man who genuinely respects women is wonderful to be around. But I felt so much more than that; safe, cared for and confused. He lived in So Cal for four years. We might have crossed paths sooner if I had tried to meet other people at the church instead of hanging out with the friend I came with. But even he said that back then people weren't as friendly. I wish I had met him sooner. It might have changed everything.
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