Port Of Angels
Port Angeles, Washington
The islands are behind me. Miles remaining are in the double digits. Neah Bay. Cape Flattery. If I could get lost, take a wrong road that would spill me a thousand miles away; call on that part of the brain that makes the lost walk in a slow arch of circling confusion, then I would. This is normal I tell myself for the hundredth time. There is a ship that is coming to make my rescue from this island and I am seeing myself running to hide behind a palm, camping deep in the rain forest to avoid detection, chewing calories slower so I can listen.
Yesterday I saw a homeless man and I dug in my pocket. I ask about his sign, as I take in the sprawl of his belongings that lie scuffed by the Walmart entrance. "Oh, never mind about that. It looks like you've come a long way. A fellow man of the backpack. Bet you have stories to tell?" He is smiling through heavy stubble and takes my money without looking at it, without thanking. Somehow he makes me lonely. Somehow he makes me miss sitting by a river and the thick confusion of trees I often call home. I walk away without saying anything, feeling him staring me down the long grade toward the city.