Archive for the month “May, 2014”

December: Excerpt from the first chapter

Cole stood near the pinkish armchair. This is where it takes place. It is placed here: here and now. Where is that: ‘Here and now’? My thoughts? My mind? The world? No, the here and now are in this living room: white walled, pink furnitured, with a flat-screen TV, an old fireplace, with the door closed and the curtains pulled shut. Right now the ‘here and now’ is Sheila’s living room. Right now, the here and now takes place in Sheila’s house in Plymouth, England.

Cole flipped the flap of his bag shut. Here and now I am packing my bag with books. My black computer bag I am packing with computer, a thermos of coffee, a snack, a bottle of water, and books. Leftovers and used items. My bag runneth over. A dream come true: owning a shoulder bag. A heavy shoulder bag. Here and now I am getting ready to go out while Sheila sits in her chair, watching me pack.

“I’m going now,” I say to Sheila. My landlady Sheila, who is eighty-two and white-haired, who sits and smiles and watches me prepare to leave. She reminds me of Becca, a former girlfriend; orderly and straightforward.

“Alright, my love.” She says, and she smiles in that pleasant way with wrinkling cheeks and wishes for my pleasant evening. But is that her gaze I feel which makes me feel bad for taking off? Here and now I leave Sheila alone in her pinkly sofa’d living room and shut the door behind me. That took a while to learn; always shut the door. She told me almost daily ‘shut the door behind you.’ And she said that saves on heating. Living room door. Inner door. Have to heat fewer rooms if the doors are all shut. Saves money. Saves Energy. I go out the front door and shut the door and lock the door. Outdoors there are no doors to save money on heating, just a cold gray landing, damp and blackened by rain.

The Rocky Road To Dublin

Dear You,

I know I haven’t written in nearly a month, but I have a valid reason: finals, graduation, and travel.

Finals and graduation are simple enough to explain, because they are exactly what they seem to be and there isn’t much of interest to relate, except that I’ve passed classes and left college with a degree in Literature Studies. That leaves ‘travel’ as the item of interest.

Travel, in this case, entails four months of hard work to raise about $3’200 for a trip abroad. It was a blur but I succeeded, working 25 hours a week on top of 19 credits.

We, my travel group of 15 others, set out from Billings, Montana on the morning of Wednesday, May 7 and returned this past Sunday, May 18.

We met at the Billings airport, passed security, and gathered in the little terminal. Our flight left around noon and we landed in Salt Lake City, Utah by 1:15pm. I know an account of airline travel is less than exhilarating, but this journey has a touch of the abnormal and a shocking turn of events:

We flew with Delta Airlines. Our initial layover was about twenty minutes in Salt Lake, or about enough time to run from one gate to the next. So, as expected, we ran. What we didn’t expect was having to pull a “Portland”.

“Pulling a Portland” means taking a step backwards in order to take three steps forward, and is a term we invented because of this journey. A journey which, I suppose I should mention, had the ultimate destination of Dublin, Ireland.

We managed to make our gate, out of breath and sweaty, in time for a flight to New York. However, the abnormal struck about the time we reached our gate. Upon arrival, we learned that our flight was delayed because the plane had been hit by lightning, and the maintenance crew were checking instruments. Thus our dashing was in vain, and we now had a three hour delay, which, in the process of time and a total of 11 planes attacked by lightning, turned into nine hours. Fortunately, we had a fearless leader who arranged a different path Eastward: we were to fly to Portland, Oregon.

After a long delay and some frustration, we did make Portland, and from there Atlanta, Georgia, and ultimately, a day behind and road-weary, Dublin.

And that’s why I haven’t written in a month, and how “to pull a Portland” has become a term in my travel book.

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