This is what I come home to. Seriously. My room-mate isn't kidding either; her gun is just kind of there on the floor...
There are things in this life that make you feel safe, that remind you that there is some order in the universe. Taxes are one of those things. Christmas is another. (That gun on the floor is not.)
That fifty-four year-old bottle-blonde Denny's waitress on the overnight shift is one of those things though. You know the woman I mean. The woman with the shopping network cubic zirconium earrings and the thick eye shadow and the shirt that probably fit well when she was twenty-five? Who you're nice to because it's got to suck to work 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. on a Saturday night and get shorted in tips by people too drunk to calculate simple arithmetic. The one you give a generous tip to compensate for the douche-bag football meat-heads who think it's funny to leave without paying their whole bill.
Another thing that makes sense? That view from the patio that never seems to get old, no matter how many nights you watch the sun go down behind the Gulf Islands off the Pacific coast while eatting fish and chips and drinking pints of Keith's. It's the same view that, two hours later, has the city laid out beneath you like orange fireflies. A city you know won't ever be truly home, but is, admittedly, the most beautiful place you are likely to ever live. So you dance under the cloud cover to Muddy Waters and the Rolling Stones and M.I.A. and hope that one day you remember that the reason you left this place was because you found someplace that was calling you, and not because you ever got tired of the bright pink sunsets and the Coast Mountains.
Then there are those boys you worked with two years ago who inexplicably remember your name. You don't remember getting along with them so well. Maybe you didn't get along so well back then, but you do now, and you end up in a booth in the pub, making Unicorn-My-Little-Pony jokes and doubled over laughing until two in the morning. Then you realize the last bus home is dangerously soon, and one of the boys offers you a ride home. Instead of going straight home, you end up in Denny's with them at a quarter to three in the morning talking about shorts films and girls and why the hell can't that be our food? And hanging out with them in a diner feels far more natural than it should. You miss having boys like this, boys to just hang out with. You miss your Eric, your real Eric, who gives the most fantastic backrubs in the world and rides a three speed road bike.
Like the boy you have a little crush on, who doesn't come with you because he has to go home and sleep. Sleep is probably a good plan for you too, but not yet. The night still feels young. Even when you get home, a little bit before four in the morning, you feel strangely energetic (yet exhausted), full of an odd peace you haven't felt since those precious days in Pittsburgh. And it occurs to you that the next 405 days are going to be a long haul, but if there are enough evenings of sunsets and patio-parties and pints of beer and silly jokes and all-night-diner debauchery, it may not feel like such a long haul after all.