Breath Again!

After the better part of a year in Seattle, I find myself back on Whidbey Island and finally able to catch my breath. That’s the strange thing. I feel as though, my 10 months in Seattle was a long held breath. My partner and I were constantly working. We were constantly clamoring for money to pay rent, pay bills, pay for car repairs, pay for a date just to treat ourselves.

Now, in the country side we finally have a moment to sit and take a breath without feeling as though we must get back to work or else…

Funny how that works. Cities offer so much. There are people, shops, events galore, and constant constant constant traffic. I enjoy cycling in the city, but I enjoy cycling in the country a lot more. I enjoy the social spaces of cities, but I found myself always searching for a neighborhood coffee shop that is readily available on Whidbey. When I came back to the island on the weekends now and then I’d release my held breath and feel as though everything had slowed down and I could be aware of my actions in a more meaningful way than when I was in the city.

Here I can drive anywhere without getting frustrated looking for parking. I don’t have to pay for parking. I can cycle to work and only have one or two cars pass me. Kyla and I can sit out on the deck and have a drink as the light wanes and we don’t hear sirens or the honking of cars.

When we visited LA we took a Lyft and the woman said she’d always wanted to live in a smaller town. Someplace not as crowded. But, she said, what would she do? Like, for money. And at that moment it dawned on me how lucky Kyla and I are with our work situation as freelance writers. Small towns, big cities, we can live anywhere and adjust our work load to how much money we MUST make.

There is no worry for us when we move, because one of our jobs always comes with us–and it’s commonly the most lucrative one as well. Sure, when Kyla is in school again she won’t want to spend the little free time she has writing more, but it’s always an option for us, while it’s not for others.

Though Kyla loves cities, we both acknowledge now that a smaller town is more in the offing for our preferred way of life–and that’s what we’re both trying to understand. Our way of life together.



I just never left after that.

Later Annie would go on to tell me that she was really nervous about living with me. I could understand why she would have been a little weirded out by having a dude she’d just met on craigslist move into her home.To this day, however, I don’t think we’ve had an argument.

This is Andy, He was always pouring drinks on Thirsty Thursdays.

At first we didn’t quite know what to talk about with each other. She was studying science stuff, I was studying art stuff. It wasn’t until we went down to the bar for Thirsty Thursday that we really started to get to know each other. Every Thursday the Eastside Tavern would have $2.50 pints, any microbrew. Sometime there would be a cover, but it was never more than $5 and the bands they had inside were usually pretty awesome. The lighting was dim, but warm. The wood bar to the right stretched along to where room opened up and there were pool tables and a ping pong table. When a band played though the pool tables were covered up and the ping pong table was folded up and put away. One those nights Annie and I would drink until we were silly and then dive into the crowd and I’d shed my shoes and blacken my feet on the sticky floor and sweat through my clothes as we danced and drank and drank and danced.

Whoever was less tipsy would end up driving home which was probably a horrible idea every time we did it and we’d say so the next day, then wait until the next week and do it again. Sometimes we’d catch the drunk bus back to campus and walk the trail to the organic farm and walk the road until we got home. We’d bitch and tease each other when we got back home Annie always wanted to have a nightcap so we’d sit up and listen to music or try and watch Herald and Mod but I’d always fall asleep. I still haven’t actually watched the whole thing.

The first time she asked me if I wanted to cuddle I was a little surprised. It was strictly an invitation to snuggle, though. That was the long and short of it. She asked so timidly and mild.

I was brushing my teeth and swaying in that drunk way that people do and she was standing her the doorway and said, “Would you want to cuddle just to be close to someone as you fall asleep.”

I don’t really remember how I responded but it was a yes.

And that was as far as it went.

We’d cuddle up in bed together, big spoon, little spoon and fall asleep together and be great friends and the next morning we’d make breakfast or one of us would have class early and slip out of bed and we’d see each other later.

This was how things went for a while.

Annie had horrible allergic reactions to everything. She had an epipen in the kitchen and she carried one with her in case she got close to walnuts. If she ate something that had been put on a plate that had once had walnuts on it and hadn’t been washed well, she’d go into anaphylactic shock. I called it Anniephylactic shock.



I stood looking at the two stations wondering which would be less risky. I fingered my passport that had that unholy stamp in it that would inform them I’d overstayed my tourist visa by about 3 months. On the right a bald and clean cut german. On the left a tussled haired and mustached one. I went left.

“Passport,” he said.

I put it on the counter. He grabbed it and opened it up and flipped through the pages looking for my entry date.

I was so nervous I could feel my pulse from my chest to my fingertips to my toes. It seemed impossible that this guy wouldn’t hear it or at least see that my heart was beating so strongly it was actually visibly moving my body. It’s a horribly uncomfortable feeling.

The man at the podium placed his finger on the entry date, I could see it because of the way he was sitting, slightly turned to me. He then flipped through until the last page, most of them blank. Then he went back to the beginning and flipped through the pages that had some stamps on them, the entry date, then the blank pages again. He did this a third time. I could tell he was looking for something and I think he was looking for a sign that I’d gone through the process of getting an extension for my visa. Of course I hadn’t.

He glanced at me. His mustache twitched. He took in my small bag and my long hair and my general look of shabbiness. He had a look on his face that was a bit of a stupid kid doesn’t know what he’s doing message.

He shrugged and taking up his stamp pressed it to my passport and said, “Have a nice trip home.” He handed me my passport.

Suddenly my bladder felt a lot less tight. My pulse was a lot less heavy. My breathing was a lot less obvious to me.

“Thanks,” I said and went through.

I think the guy didn’t want to go through the paperwork that would have followed if he’d busted me. I was obviously just a tourist backpacking Europe, spending money and have a good time. I don’t think I gave off a vibe of having made any trouble while was in in Europe, though I suppose my Granada experience might have been frowned upon.

I walked to my gate with a spring in my step but also sad that my adventure was finally over. Excited that I’d be home around familiar faces.

Three or four days before I had realized I needed to find a place to live in Olympia where I would be going back to school in about a week and a half. While in Barcelona I’d jumped on Craigslist and messaged a couple different postings looking for roommates. Only one person had replied. A girl with a place that wasn’t on the bus route, but it was close to campus and the pictures of the place looked great. My plan was to get off the plane in Seattle, my dad would pick me up and we would drive down to Olympia so I could actually meet her and see if it would work out.