|Dale Favier, visiting Marcel Hatch and Norman Hathaway in Seattle, circa 1974. Photo Norman Hathaway.|
How places accumulate shadows, over years and years! I find it difficult to imagine Seattle as an ordinary place in modern time, a place I could drive to in my own car in three hours. Avgolemno soup at the Continental Cafe; bare apartments of philosophy students; the confusion of water and snow-capped mountains on both sides of you. I've almost always lived in the trough between the Cascades and the Pacific ocean, where everyone knows: the sea is West and the mountains are East. But in Seattle, the Sound or Lake Washington or Mt Rainier or the Olympics show up, a trompicones, over every ridgeline. Snow and water; water and snow.
I was trying to think when I was last there, and kept coming up with ridiculous answers such as "twenty years ago? Thirty?" Nothing happened in Seattle. I have no history there. No reason it should frighten me: except -- except that it's a different place, and it's a place where one of the lives I didn't choose unfolded. I guess I'm afraid I'll meet that life, and it will shrug impatiently and turn away.
Thin sunlight. Always sunlight, in Seattle, in the rain-shadow of the Olympics, but a fragile sunlight, coming slantwise. I am afraid of Seattle.
I was a teenager, and I got off the bus in downtown Seattle, the biggest city I had ever visited then. I was alone, and the skyscrapers downtown were vast, and blind at street level, and a dusty wind howled through them. I had friends in Seattle, so I believed: but Seattle was not my friend.
Yet I do have some sort of history in Seattle, though it pieces itself together slowly, slowly. I even had a lover in Seattle -- or did I? We dallied, and got so far as bare chests. A doorway curtained with strands of purple beads. I do remember that, or believe I remember it. Shadow follows sun, though, and sun follows shadow. I was lonely then, unendurably lonely. I don't know how I stood it. Loneliness like that would break me now.
I plan to go up there, at the end of February. Just for a couple days. I never go anywhere, but I'm going there. I'll stay with Kim, who brought the orange flowers, and I'll take my massage table.