Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rachel at the Confluence

I spent a few pleasant days in North Carolina just walking and talking with Kristen, Yonton's girlfriend. She was a very gracious tour guide, and lucky for us the weather was in the low eighties and sunny. The whole city was blooming before our eyes. She showed me lots of places, including a bookstore champagne bar where I drank a blood red mimosa out of a tall, skinny glass, and we talked about a lot of things.

The next day she sent me a link to a house for rent. I wasn't particularly interested in looking at houses, seeing as I live 3,000 miles away, but the description of the place was undeniably perfect.

This tiny house, available immediately, would be perfect for a long term visitor of Asheville. It would be ideal for a writer looking to simplify.

I had to see this tiny house.

I called the landlord and set an appointment to drop by in the afternoon, just out of curiosity. I took a taxi into town and decided I'd walk the remaining two miles to the address. But the taxi took much longer than I thought, and I got mixed up between Merimon and Broadway and completely turned around. This happens to me in Asheville because the whole city looks identical.

I was going to be very late. It was hot out, and my computer bag dug an angry red streak into my shoulder. After a few futile minutes of staring at the tiny map on my phone, I stopped walking. There's no point in getting there late and stressed, I reasoned with myself. There's really no point in going there at all. Why was I looking at a tiny house in North Carolina anyway, when I lived happily in a spacious apartment in Seattle? The description of the house had been eerily perfect, like the house was meant to be mine, but obviously it wasn't if I couldn't even get there.

I needed a ride, but everyone I knew in Asheville was working. It dawned on me that I could just knock on the window of any car with a whitewater boat on top, and chances are they'd know Yonton, and I could probably just ask for a ride. Being friends with Yonton is like holding a key to the city.
But there were not kayaks on top of cars at that moment, so I turned and began to walk back downtown. If I was really supposed to get that house, to make the spontaneous and rash decision to uproot (again) and move to the other coast, then someone would drop out of the sky and give me a ride. That's how these things work, when they work.

I had taken three steps when a Subaru with Washington plates pulled up next to me. The girl in the driver's seat was my friend Rachel, from Seattle.
The last time I'd seen Rachel was at the opening party for The Seattle Biscuit truck in a flowery back yard in Magnolia. My boat was docked at the Fisherman's terminal just down the street. It was a really lovely evening with Andrew and his friends, bottles of cold beer and biscuits, lots of little blond kids running around. Rachel had just paddled the grand canyon and gotten engaged at the confluence of the little Colorado river. I fawned over her ring, and spent the rest of the evening mulling over two thoughts- one, that I'd once been at the same exact spot in the canyon with Will, where the bright candy-aqua swirled into muddy brown, and two, that I was not going to marry Andrew.
I'd always been really drawn to Rachel. She's extremely warm and outgoing; people like that tend to stand out in the Northwest. And now here we were, at the same street corner outside of a town in Western North Carolina. I opened the door and jumped in.

"Hi Rachel." I said. "I really need a ride two miles up the road." She gave me this look, and then she drove me there.
What I didn't know at the time was that since I'd last seen her, Rachel and her fiance had moved to Virginia. I didn't even know that she was from Asheville originally, or that her parents lived just a few houses down from the tiny house I was going to look at.

All I knew was I really needed to get somewhere, and at that precise moment my friend from Seattle shows up and took me there. It seemed to make sense.


Liz Stout said...


And I love the way the boater community (and climber, and rider, and all outdoorsy) community works! So wonderful to know someone who knows someone and thus be automatic friends of a degree.

Tracie O said...

Seriously...you're going to leaving us hanging like that???!!!
Can't wait to read more of how this unfolds :)

Diary of Why said...

You lead a truly bizarre and wondrous life. I marvel.

Erin said...

The strange and wonderful universe, with all its lovely vibrations. XO

SmithShack71 said...

That is really wild. I love when good wild happens.


Anonymous said...

you're seriously going to leave us hanging like that?!?!?

Michelle T said...

Ok, HOW adorable is Rachel and I can't believe you're leaving us hanging too!
Your life is cool, and the way you write about it, enchanting.

Julie P said...

You can't leave us in suspense like this. Please post more story soon!

Maria said...

...and? What happened NEXT!?

Amanda in RI said...

Can't wait to see the rest of this story!

Abby said...

I love this story! It's like an old-timey serial in a newspaper or something. Can't wait to read what happens next!

Jacki said...

Crazy awesome. I can't wait to hear what happens next!!

(This "solution falls from the sky" thing totally happened when I bought my Subaru btw. I was like, this car is MINE! And then it was sold to someone else. But then he returned it, because duh ... it was mine.)

Karen said...

It feels like you keep ceding closer and closer to some kind of edge. I hope the fall is fabulous and free!

Karen said...

It feels like you keep creeping closer and closer to some kind of edge. I hope the fall is fabulous and fe!

Meg G said...

Next time you are in Ashville, visit the French Broad Chocolates. Their Chocolate Lounge is on Lexington Ave. and their factory and tasting room in downtown on Buxton Ave. Maybe you have already been there? My friend from elementary/middle/high school owns it with his wife. He is a pretty cool dude, his name is Dan. And, uh, CHOCOLATE!