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anyone or anything

Yet more notes on Utah, Pt. 3

13. Sunday was cooler with an overcast sky. We hit a bit of rain as we drove up to Sundance for brunch. There were reports that a police officer had been shot, earlier that morning, and that the gunman had not been apprehended. B. had his own sidearm in the car. "Did you bring the hollow-point ammunition?" R. asked. Haha, they were so cute.

14. We took a scenic drive into the mountains above Sundance after brunch. It was so nice to be up in all those trees. The air smelled like rain-misted trees. I thought about asking them to pull over and get out, so I could take some pictures of R. But I'm pretty sure she would have insisted that B. be included in the pictures. I can't look at pictures of them together without my own dumb inadequacies resurfacing. So I said nothing and decided to forget about it.

15. We went to a matinee at a multiplex. B. sat between me and R.. I don't think there was any conscious intent on this seating arrangement by either of them. But, really, it's the unconscious things we do that are the most telling. And the fact that it didn't occur to R. (or matter, if it did) that it was my last full day with them and that she might want to sit next to me while I was still there. But no.

16. Another one of B.'s sisters (he has five brothers and sisters) called and invited us over for a visit. There was going to be a lot of his family and a lot of high-energy, high-decibel children in attendance. B. and R. both stressed that I was perfectly welcome to go with them or, if I wished, be let off at their house. I pictured myself sitting quietly and awkwardly in a corner at his sister's get-together and told B. and R. that, if it was all right with them, I'd like to be dropped off at their house and nap while they were out (even though I had had a huge coffee at the theater and wasn't the least bit tired). I thought it would be nice to be alone for a while. And I thought it would be nice for B. and R. to be rid of me for a while.

17. I spent the evening in my guest room, reading and (despite the coffee) nodding off. I had finished David Foster Wallace's "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men" and went back and read some of the earlier stories in the book. A lot of the characters--much like me--tend to overthink their situation and begin to suspect others of having thoughts and motivations that are probably not true. B. and R. were gone all evening. I tried not to take it personally. After all, I live two states away. R. can see me ANY day. But how often does she get to see these people who live in her own town? I was very much looking forward to my flight back to SF the following morning.

18. It was after 11pm when B. and R. returned to the house. R. went into the kitchen and prepared one of the best pasta dishes I've ever had. I think I enjoyed that more than any of the restaurant meals we had since my arrival (and those were pretty damn good). Expressway to my heart.

19. We were driving to the airport.

H: On a scale from A to Z, with A being Aquatic and Z being Zirconia, how would you rate me as a house guest?

B: Hmmm. I would rate you as P for Platinum. Or maybe as Q for Quartz.

H: That's pretty good, right? I'll take Platinum or Quartz. R.? What about you?

R: I am NOT participating in this. It's ridiculous. That scale doesn't mean anything!

20. We were getting close to the airport. Something about the near-distant mountains made me sad. I kept looking at R.'s face in her passenger-side mirror. That face is so pretty and painful to look at, I could wish myself out of existence. Finally I said, "R.? Are you glad I came to visit?"

"Yeah," she said. "Of course!" She answered like it was the most absurd question I could possibly ask.

We arrived at my stop. We said goodbye in the car. Again, no hug from R..

21. I was back in secret motel by early afternoon. I poured my first drink in days. R. surprised me with a phone call later that night. She and B. hosted a dinner with fourteen guests in their home that evening. I thought I would be the furthest thing from R.'s mind and that it would be days or weeks before I heard from her again, but she called to make sure I got home safe and wanted to know how my flight was.

22. I don't understand anyone or anything.

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