Portland: A Weekend

We sat in the kitchen on Thursday night eating curried soup from white china bowls.
These days we rarely make it to the large oak table in the dining room, preferring to settle on stools in the kitchen or sit, side-by-side, on the living room sofa, dinner balanced on our knees.

Standing suddenly, he walked to his bag and pulled out a flat manila envelope.
"I want you to open your birthday present early," he said, handing a stack of papers to me.
"No!" I protested, pushing the envelope away, "Its still four days 'till my birthday."
He placed the enveloped on my lap, smiling, knowing that it would take very little for me to give in. 

The envelope was a surprise.

We left a few hours later, only after I'd wandered around the house not knowing what to pack, oscillating between murmurs of, "Honey, its just too much," and gleeful outbursts of excitement.

We flew from Philadelphia to Chicago and from Chicago to Oregon. To Portland.
The envelope had held tickets to a city I've wanted to visit for such a long time.

We wandered the streets, stopping in coffee shops or record stores when we began to feel the cold too deeply. We saw The Head and the Heart in concert, and cheered loud enough for a lengthy encore. We visited Patagonia and North Face, Columbia and Pendelton, marveling at the cities' high quality wardrobe; they were more prepared for the cold than we were. We meandered through Powell's Bookstore--the largest used book store there is, with rows of tall book shelves and ladders to reach the top shelves. "Look at all the books!" I cried, wandering aisle by aisle as the evening sun shot through the smudged glass window like flames through paper.

Returning to the snow in Pennsylvania was not something either of us were terribly keen on, but there is a beauty in stealing away for only a weekend.
It was the most wonderful birthday gift. 


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