May 5, 2006

SEATTLE, Washington – Impatient after two days of travel, I nearly run to the share-ride van. Winter still shrouded the city when I left; now sunlight angles across the spring evening.

"Eight o'clock and still light," I marvel.

"Duh!" replies the complete stranger beside me. "It's May."

Whoa there, lady! Why the hate?

First, I've been away for six weeks. Second, I've been loitering at a lower latitude. Third, you are an impolite and insular beast.

I seethe, but don't reply. Why mix it up with strangers in the shuttle?


Despite the snarky welcome, Seattle is a delight. I curl on the couch with Jake and Molly Cat. Relief drains all the tension from my limbs, the fight-or-flight alertness of a stranger in a strange land.

Home. Really home – not in the half-life limbo of Italy or England. At last.

Inhale and exhale: that's travel and triumphant return, according to Edward. He revives on the road, then coasts on this momentum at his desk. Quite the opposite, I gather my reserves in Seattle, then burst into the world.

The important thing is to keep on breathing, we agree.

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