The Third Quarter

June 22, 2014 at 11:11 am (Cosmic Encounters, On the road again..., One Particular Angel)

It was Saturday morning, and I was restless. Rain was out doing her daily routine, and I had the day off. I’ve been working an average of six days a week, and a full day off with no expectation of being called in left me feeling a little lost.

I ate a magic lemon bar and went for a walk. Let’s see where Saturday morning takes me…

It took me to the MAX. A ten-minute walk leading to the portal out of SE Portland, Lents and Felony Flats. Saturdays are a teenage freak show. The high-schoolers (and those just past) loiter, lookin’ tough for the mallrat girls. I time it close, so I don’t have to watch too much social interaction.

A father and his two loud daughters occupied the usually quiet place by the train operator. The daughters were having a pre-school spelling bee at the top of their lungs. Instead of complaining, because the world needs good spellars, I plugged in the headphones.

I suddenly felt old. Not because little kids were bugging me, or because teenagers were loud. I can handle that. I am not used to the feeling of apathy, the one that says, “What does it matter, you’ll be dead soon anyway!” While I have let that kind of thinking sway the size of my credit card balance (and occasional better judgment when sleeping with women) I am more stable than ever.

Bomber doobusBut that isn’t saying much, when you are a 53-year-old man with a huge mortgage, broke girlfriend and a job that pays like McDonald’s. Sigh. I almost tweeted, “This is the start of the third quarter.” I wanted to mark this milestone moment, the one where I openly step into and embrace middle-age, but I am sick of pulling out a phone every time something happens. I will remember this moment with what’s left of my short-term memory.

I listened to Peter Gabriel. The loud children and their dad may have heard my eardrum bleed, because I got dirty looks as I listened to Shock the Monkey. I looked out the window, watching the city fly by. As the music shifted into Solisbury Hill, and the line, “Grab your things we’ve come to take you home” played in my ears, I felt a big smile coming on. The lemon bar was kicking in, and I was gonna be all right.

I stared at the faces on the MAX platform as we pulled into Gateway. It’s a good thing I only smoked half a joint before leaving the house. (It was a big joint, see that thing next to the Sharpie up there?) The mamacitas heading to Gresham, the panhandlers displaced from Old Town. There was an old man stuffing what looked like a baby into a cloth shopping bag. It must be a doll, or he’s done it so many times the baby is cool with it. Ooohkay. There’s an old lady in a wheelchair laid out, it looks like she’s melting to one side. Lord have mercy, I am trippin’

I must be, because in all this nonsense is a familiar face. No… fuckin… way.

Walking through my hallucination was none other than my beloved Angel.

I pulled my recently-despised phone out, ready to text if she didn’t come my way. She was cool as a cucumber, walked onto the train, up the stairs and into the compartment, sitting right next to me. We unhooked our respective musical devices and I patted her thigh.

“Why, good morning sir!” she said in her lilting faux-Brit accent.

“Wow, I could not have planned anything as spectacular as this. Good morning! What are you doing out and about?” Angel is a homebody most of the time. Running into her “in the wild” is rare.

“Me and the boyfriend are having a thing, so I got away for a while. I coulda just went to my room, but I said fuck all that and hopped a train. I been sitting over by the flowers for about an hour now. I just decided to come catch this train going the wrong way. And here you are. What the fuck?”

“Thank you, fate,” I said heavenward.

We rolled along, sometimes talking, sometimes sitting quietly. The trip was not without flirtation. “Feel these tights,” she said. “Aren’t they soft?”

“Nah, that’s your softness emanating through the fabric.” She gave a tiny squeal and put my hand back on her thigh. I was most comfy with it riding there.

We rolled through downtown, laughing at the characters like it was our own episode of The Simpsons. When we got to the mall, I held the door and escorted her through the basement breezeway to the place by Moonstruck where she was going to “get her eyebrows did.” They looked lovely to me, but anything to support the local economy, I say.

I loved the look on the eyebrow-girl’s faces when I left her at the door, after a steamy kiss and a squeeze on the butt. I hurried to the library to get the one thing I had to do done, and jetted back to the mall. Alas, she was already gone. I knew she didn’t need much eyebrow work.

Out with the phone again. I texted to her, “Already done? Or did you run away with bleeding eyeballs into the streets?”

“Just wandering now. Up by the Mothership, gonna buy grub and go home. You?”

“Same. Ice cream and a nap is calling me.”

“Mmm. That does sound good.”

“Thank you for brightening my day. You made it all better.” I put a smily face emoticon at the end.

“You too. Ditto.”

I wish I had taken a picture with my annoying phone. She was stunningly beautiful, with a different neon-color for each piece of clothing, and I didn’t hesitate to mention it several times. But the brightness of her clothes was nothing compared to the brightness she brought to my soul.

So, as I accept getting older, I don’t feel quite so old. I’m surrounded by beautiful women, and life for all its ups and downs is pretty fucking good.

Then play on.

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