Exploring - By Mizeta Moon

Relocating to Oregon was a big deal to her because she’d longed to escape the desolation of west Texas for years, but until recently that dream had been out of reach. One day a recruiter for a big firm in Portland contacted her and asked if she would be willing to relocate for a lucrative position. Needless to say, she jumped at the chance. Packing a U-Haul and leaving the scrub and sand of the desert southwest behind, she became increasingly excited as she steadily climbed into the forested lushness of the Pacific Northwest. The gleaming towers of downtown Portland were a stark contrast to the stucco and adobe she’d grown up with. As she moved into her office in the Portlandia building she couldn’t stop looking out the window at the magnificent view. What a difference, she thought. She knew right then that there was no going back. Ever!! This was paradise on earth.

When she was young, the neighborhood kids would amuse themselves by taking BB guns to a dry creek bed behind her house and hunting lizards. As a teenager she tried rodeo riding but found she was too prissy to wear boots covered with dirt and dung. Her first job was selling sombreros, maracas, and other tourist items at a kiosk in a mall. Faced with a mundane existence in a Cowtown she enrolled in community college and earned a degree in marketing. Within a few years she’d finished a master’s in business administration course and was working for the biggest retailer in the area. This led to a chance encounter with a Portlander who was in town to visit a dying relative, and ultimately her office with a view of the Willamette river and Mt. Hood.

Every weekend she would choose a different location to explore. Quaint fishing villages on the coast. Farming communities amidst green fields and rolling hills. Wine tastings at vineyards offering excellent beverages and food pairings. Something she was currently looking forward to was a dinner cruise on the Spirit of Portland and then several days later she’d be taking a paddle wheeler ride up the Columbia river. The only thing missing in her life was companionship. She didn’t need to be in love. She just wanted someone to talk to and share the experiences. Online dating was a bust because people lied and made themselves out to be what they felt you were looking for. She’d been asked out by several guys at work but knew that workplace romances could be disastrous so she declined. The breakthrough came one Friday evening when she was playing slots at Ilani Casino. The woman next to her was winning big and buying drinks for everyone near her.

Her name was Lindsay, and when they started talking there was an immediate rapport that led to them having dinner after cashing out, then moving to the bar while waiting for a table at Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse. Serendipitously, Lindsay worked three floors below her in the Portlandia building and lived in an apartment complex two blocks away from her. The more they talked the more they discovered mutual interests and the next few months became a whirlwind of adventure. Visiting Seattle and the Space Needle. Taking a ferry ride around Puget Sound. Skiing at Mt. Bachelor after shopping in Bend. She was happy to have finally found a friend that she could trust and believe in.

Unfortunately, in the corporate world the sands are constantly shifting. Lindsay’s company decided to relocate to Atlanta and she would be moving with them. She couldn’t help crying when they shared their last bottle of wine at the City Grill since being that far away would lead to a constantly increasing gap in communication. Losing a lover can be devastating but losing a friend can be even more so. Laughter and pleasant company can be harder to replace than romance. Hopefully, someone else would come along to share her free time with. Until then, there were still roads and corners to explore in a state that never ceased to amaze.       

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