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The Beginning before the Beginning

I’m on this train, right?

This actual train, heading toward California.


Union Station. Portland, OR

The previous week has been such a blur. One day I’m trying to decide which items to pack first based on household need, the next I’m sleeping on the floor of my now vacant dining room. I realize my sleeping pad is not actually all that comfortable; or do I just hurt from slinging boxes and furniture up and down three flights of stairs for two days? I roll over to check the time; I have a voicemail. That’s odd. Nobody ever calls me.

What I hoped would be a well wishing message from some friend or family member not in my contact list turned out to be a service alert from Amtrak. A landslide up north and a derailment down south has disrupted my route. I’m too tired to even complain. Customer service informs me that my 32-hour train ride to Los Angeles is to be split by a 8 hour bus ride, right in the middle of it. Great, effing great.

There is a full carafe of coffee on the counter from yesterday, but the microwave is now in storage. I clean the one pot not stored away to reheat half of the day-old liquid and pour it back into the press. What once was delicious is now equivalent to gas station coffee. My back hurts. When my roommate is sufficiently conscious, I invade her personal space and sooth my aching muscles on her bed. We hung out here for a while, Evan eventually joining us with a bout of mystery nausea.

Cuddle puddle.

I’m not good with emotions, and I struggle with admitting my love for friends. I’m almost reluctant to even say the words. We’ve lived together for almost four years, and now Evan and I are about to take off for five months while she moves elsewhere. We’re splitting up the family. Breaking up the band.

To avoid any unnecessary messy feelings, we depart like a ripped band-aid.

First the bus to the light rail, then two transfers, and a half hour wait at Union Station. While washing my hands in the restroom, transit police burst in and start pounding on the stall behind me; I escape quickly but I can only imagine they would soon be showing the door to a transient.

While in line, I panic. I can’t find my little baggie containing my tech charging kit. I’m texting my roommate and crafting ways for her to overnight it to Frodo and Scouts (our hosts) when Evan pulls it out of the extra day bag we brought. I feel like an idiot: I put it there!!

Neither me nor Evan have ridden a train before, so this adventure is just full of Firsts. He longs for a sleeper car; the nausea he woke up with hasn’t passed yet. Nervous, I guess. I start to wonder if I’m broken: I don’t feel anxious or nervous at all. I’m antsy to get a move on, but impatience isn’t anxiety. Maybe I got all of my worries and nerves out of the way in the weeks leading up to now, I did cry myself to dehydration a few times, so it’s not unlikely.

Now I’m on my way to San Diego!! Evan is sleeping off whatever bug he caught, and the train rocks too much to draw my comics. It’s also cloudy and rainy, so the views leave much to be desired. I’ll just twiddle my thumbs and try to resist biting my nails.

3 hours down, 29 to go.

Double the fun, double the mischief

See you soon, SoCal.