Tuesday, January 15, 2013

notes from never land

1. I talk on the phone with Andrew, for the first time in nearly three months. I'm in the produce section of a PCC staring at a pile of oranges. It's fairly early in the morning. Because he used to be my best friend and I miss him and I haven't  heard his voice in so long, it is kind of a tough start to the day.

"Our breakup was hard for me, too," he's saying, "but I think I had a somewhat....different reaction."

"What do you mean?" I ask. I know exactly what he means.

"Well, I didn't need to escape to Montana."

I laugh a little. "I sure did."
2. I have been running away a lot lately. Picture a little kid running full speed, arms flailing, away from the blue cartoon dinosaur of sadness. That's how it looks in my head, anyway, although I have been told that my imagination is a bit, how do I put this, overactive. But it hasn't been the worst thing- not when there are so many tempting places to run away to.

My latest escape brings me back to Montana, to the cabin where I spent two weeks of rehab last November. This time I drive out, not to lick my wounds, but to celebrate Sebby's birthday party in proper form. The theme for the weekend is Peter Pan: pajamas, pirates, tinker bells. Never Never Land in big sky county- perhaps the greatest escape of all time.
3. The cabin that had been so quiet a few months ago, where I sat alone with my pile of books and busily stitched away at my heart, is now wild and loud, overrun with lost boys from Missoula. Their big, laughing, over-sized presence takes up every bunk bed and floor space, crowds into the snowy hot tub in a veil of white steam, falls asleep randomly on couches, circles the kitchen handing out beer and making coffee. They give out back rubs and tell jokes and keep us well fed.

4. The wingmen construct a tinker bell piƱata with the head of a doll that's been ripped free of its body. The doll head has a little speaker and laughs like a maniac when you whack it with a boom. There is candy everywhere.

5. This place is, essentially, an exhausting and absurd and slightly insane p-a-r-a-d-i-s-e for a girl who is running away screaming from a dinosaur.

(By the way, the lighting is really tricky.)
4. During the day we ski Big Mountain, and I write a couple of articles in the cafe down town while Lindsey reads a book across from me. Then the evening comes, and it's  off with the layers, the heavy ski boots, on with the pajamas that zip up the front. First we hit the brewery with the cowboys and ski bums; we try to mingle at the bar and keep a straight face. After the third round, we head further down iced-over Main Street to Casey's (only the hottest dance spot in Whitefish).

5. In the middle of the dance floor, I find myself transfixed. There is a woman who is dancing on a pole. She is dressed in black and twisting around and around. She is so beautiful to watch that I forget I am wearing my pajamas.

Eventually she catches me staring at her, and she smiles. She reaches her hand out and pulls me up on the platform with her. Without saying anything, it's too loud to hear anyway, she places my hands where they needs to be, hooks my leg around the pole and gestures for me to spin. Then she steps down and leaves me alone, and this is how I learn how to pole dance as a lost boy.

6. By Sunday morning, the weekend has devolved into sleeping figures curled into sleeping bags and piles of glitter on the floor. I tiptoe around them, searching for my keys, packing up my bag in the early morning silence. I'm back in the car, sliding on thick ice down the long dirt road from the cabin back to the highway, headed towards Missoula and Nici and her girls.
 7. I don't mean to ruin any surprises, but I do end up back in Seattle, and that thing I've been running from gets me. It gets me real good this time.

8. But first, Missoula.


Catherine said...

It it just incredible how you can talk about deep sadness and joy and fun in one same post and it doesn't feel disconnected at all...

Adriana Iris La Dulce Vida said...

I love reading your adventures. I too tend to run is like I am looking for my soul... somewhere... out-there...

Dylan said...

I'm a fan of the serialized style of this epic.

Rachel @ Existation said...

Never underestimate the power of the ability to run away. Every once in awhile I get overwhelmed by how "tied down" I am, even though I'm not really that tied down. I would love to have the freedom to just BLAM decide to go somewhere else for awhile, all else be damned. Guess I'll just have to keep living vicariously through you =]

Sara, Plain and Tall said...

Girl. After reading Vajanuary I had to laugh. Sometimes girlfriends are the way to healing, and sometimes, the greatest balm has been "my guys" filling me up with liquor and laughter that leads me on the path to reclaiming myself. I absolutely loved this line..."The cabin that had been so quiet a few months ago, where I sat alone with my pile of books and busily stitched away at my heart, is now wild and loud, overrun with lost boys from Missoula." I'm always astounded at the duality of a location. Some days my mountains are my quiet, introspective place, and others, I can't hear anything besides the loud boys shouting vulgarities as we ski down the slope. Love and admiration from Colorado!