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Mr. Canada in My New Room

August 24, 2017

We were going to meet halfway, somewhere near Mount Rainier. I had found a cheap Air bnb apartment. But then I found my new place and moved in, so he suggested that he just come to Portland instead.

I ok’d it with the landlady and he drove in after work Friday. I was worried that he would run into eclipse traffic so he left early. Turns out he pulled a Marie and forgot his passport, had to pull over for duct tape when one of his side mirrors starting falling off and got lost a couple of times before finally finding the place. He rolled in around 11:30-12. We hadn’t seen each other since my birthday. I missed him. I hugged him tight and kissed him outside the gate.

I showed him around the house a little since it was late and then took him down to my room. He liked it. After talking and getting settled in, we snuggled in for the night, clinging to each other, not wanting to let go.

In the morning, he was upstairs meeting the landlady before I was. Just as I suspected, he chatted with her easily, finding out details of her life that I had yet to learn. Turns out, she a widow. And she used to have chickens. And the coyotes ate one and the dog, Snoopy is a survivor of a coyote attack. Etc…etc…etc…..

I took him up to Council Crest, the highpoint of the little mountain I live on. We picked blackberries or marionberries as they call them here along the way. We enjoyed the view, engaging in our usual banter along the way. Then we went out for salmon and bagels and I discovered potato bagels, like the donuts I used to get in Ocean Springs, Mississppi from Tato-Nut.

We decided to make to a stew. I wanted to learn to make something from cheap groceries that I could take to work. We discovered Winco, a low-cost, wholesale grocery store that has rows and rows of bulk items and cheap goods of all kinds. We were both in love.

I had a recipe from Lori. We cooked together in the little kitchen, he showing me techniques here and there and me repeating, “let me do it.” I browned the beef, deglazed with red wine, sautéd onions and carrots, added the Guinness beer and stuck it all in a crock pot to sit overnight.

I had fun cooking with him. I’d like to do that again.

We were supposed to go dancing that night. He found a place with a salsa class at nine, then dancing at ten. I was watching Rouge One while he was talking to my landlady again and petting the dog. He finally joined me and we lay in bed watching. I had the movie, Cloud Atlas, on my list and he wanted to watch that too. By the time it was time for us to shower and change, we were quite content, though I found the movie bloated and hard to understand.

“You know, I could just stay here,” he said.

“That’s what I said last time.”

“I know,” he said. “But I’m so comfortable with you here.”

So, we didn’t go. In the morning, I made coffee and orange cinnamon rolls, which Mr. Canada was aghast over.

“Bread in a can?!”

“Yes, baby. There’s a whole section of bread in a can in the grocery store.”

He looked for places to get oysters and found a couple. We decided to shoot for a 3 o’clock happy hour at a place across the river.

We walked along another path, the one I’ve been taking every day, my new Girard Park and as usual…no silent pauses with us, it’s constant back and forth, sometimes leaving me frustrated.

“You drive me crazy!” I yelled at him as hipsters smelling of pot passed us on the trail.

We ate a little of the stew which was pretty good, though the meat was a bit tough, then showered to go out.

I was drying my hair we he walked in the bathroom wearing two conflicting plaids. His shorts with light blue and neutral colors and his button down with reds and oranges.

“Those two things don’t go together at all,” I said, gesturing up and down.  I looked at him. So carefree, so easy, so happy. He really doesn’t give two fucks about what anyone thinks.

“I kinda like it.” I said.

We drove to the northeast section of Portland, found the address and a place to park a block away. The oyster bar was one of several businesses lined up in a block-long building, with a common, open area in front of each one. The minute we stepped into the place, we were both struck with a feeling of familiarity, of comfort. The walls were pale blue with writing all over them, peppered with a few framed things here and there. As soon as I stepped in, I looked up and saw a drawing of the quintessential “East Van” cross.

“Look, Mr. Canada,” I said, “It’s East Van!”

It was like a sign.

We stepped up to the bar and I instantly picked out our spot at the curve, closer to the sunlight. I asked the bartender, a big guy with a kind face and a halo of beautiful hair, if I could move some stools over. He said someone would move them for me, but I just asked the couple sitting there if they were free and moved them myself. Just over the bar we could see sacks of oysters in a sink of ice and evidence of shucking.

There was a  Bourbon Street sign on the wall and a picture of a crawfish boil stuck in a frame.

We were laughing with giddiness at how perfect the place was. It was our place. Just like that. Even the music was awesome. Old school Michael Jackson and some funky blues and jazz.

We ordered our first two dozen and some beers. We met Nick, the bartender and later Noah. All N’s.

When I got up to go to the bathroom, I put my arms around Mr. C’s neck and kissed him. I was so happy.

Later, I borrowed some markers and added our names in a heart and the date to the wall of writing.

Nick told us we were adorable as he shucked our third and fourth dozen and gave us little, rubber bracelets with the restaurant’s name on it.

It wasn’t until later that it dawned on me that it was a cajun-ish-themed restaurant. Hence, the crawfish boil picture and the Bourbon Street sign.

Stopping ourselves at 4 dozen, we walked around the neighborhood admiring the architecture, finding a swedish-looking apartment building and making fun of all the white hipsters.

We tried an ice cream place but it wasn’t as good as Borden’s in Lafayette. I think I just got the wrong flavor. The chocolate shell was too sweet, not like the dark chocolate they dipped it in at Borden’s. Got I miss that place.

We returned home so Mr. C could charge his phone and pack. It was that time again. I didn’t want him to go. Finally, he left.

I found a left behind t-shirt on my bed and put it on. I missed him already.

The next day, I looked at the calendar to find the next holiday. Labor Day was in just 2 weeks. I could go to Vancouver!

I mentioned it to Mr. C. He was off too!

“How about I drive in again?” he asked.

“Really? Ok! I’ll let Nick and Noah know to expect us.”

Maybe we’ll break the record and go for 8 dozen!










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One Comment
  1. This is the happiest of your blogs I’ve ever read. The tide is turning.

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