Summer comes and goes, and so do I: to Salt Lake City to visit a friend, to Portland for a conference, to the Grand Canyon on a family road trip. In Salt Lake City, I spend time sightseeing and appreciating the locals’ obsession with beehive symbolism. In Portland, I find myself trapped in a hotel for two days, unable to see the city and secretly relieved that I have been spared a tour down that particular memory lane. On the road trip, we found ourselves everywhere, re-writing the itinerary as we went, sightseeing where the collective impulses took us, then enjoying luxurious dinners before falling asleep in budget hotels.
My friend and her husband come to visit, and we explore Seattle together, which should feel like my home turf but somehow never quite does. We take selfies with Lenin and the Fremont Troll, and one day when the weather is especially nice, ferry over to Bainbridge Island. Along the way, we enjoy the breeze and the views and a long chat about how things are. We’ve known each other since before all the husbands and held each others’ hands through three divorces and three children and infertility and medical crises and of course some happy times, too.
She asks about Mr. Faraway, who isn’t there, and is one of the only subjects that hasn’t come up over pie and coffee and sightseeing.
He had commitments at home, I say. It’s far away, so he can’t just join us for an hour.
I got that part, she says. What I don’t get is why you don’t seem excited. You’ve barely mentioned him.
He’s a good person, I offer, and very thoughtful. He always brings me flowers.
Is being a good person enough?
It should be, I think. I know from experience how hard they are to find.