Flight 673 to Quito

There’s brightness on the other side of my eyelids. I’m not ready to open them, not yet. That would require a commitment on my part to accept the reality which I was complicit in creating for myself. What I need now is something comforting, something that will reaffirm my life choices. What I need right now is coffee. Where the fuck am I going to get coffee? I don’t even have a good sense of where I am right now.

I have a vague, zombiesque recollection of standing in line for hours waiting to go through customs after a full day spent flying coach. I remember thinking that Quito International excelled at looking like a typical airport and that this was reassuring to me. After all, does it matter that I can’t comprehend any of the way-finding signs? I can figure them out in context. Most symbols are universal. It was quite cocky of me to think that I might have a handle on this.

I’m an idiot. In this harsh light of day that I’m resisting through my clenched eyelids, it is clear to me that I did not adequately prepare for what comes next. Avoiding the inevitable, I roll over and find the comfort and solace I had been looking for before selfishly panicking about where I might get my next cup of coffee.

Sasha is stirring next to me. She can make even this lumpy futon feel like home. We have a saying between the two of us, home is where the girl is. Never before have I felt so deeply the truth of this statement.

I don’t want to move. I want to remain snuggled up with my girl for just a bit longer. Still reluctant to open my eyes, I open my ears instead. The sounds of the city begin to fill my head. I can hear the traffic, grinding bus gears, a coughing diesel engine, cars honking, dogs barking, the whining sound of a hydraulic lift on a dump truck. I hear someone whistle for a cab and my heart leaps. A siren wails and then fades into the full chorus of car alarms that is coming from every direction. All of these sounds mixing together create a complex rhythm, at its core a heartbeat, one that states unequivocally that this city is alive.

How did I tune out this soundtrack that has been sadly absent from my life for so long? Four years I spent missing the sounds of the city and grumbling about the quaint absence of noise. When I first moved to Eugene, Oregon the only way I could get to sleep was to play action movies for ambient city noise. From the sound of things, there’s a Jason Bourne movie playing out at the corner. I think I want to go check it out. Maybe Jason knows where I can find a decent cup of coffee.

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