After everyone else leaves the dinner table, my sister and I stay to finish our drinks. Our conversation, as usual, revolves around homesickness and the conflict of living excessively good lives so far away from home. It is just after six but it has already been dark for what seemed like hours. I mention having to remind myself that Seattle is much farther north than it appears on a map of the US.
I'm early for my appointment so I sit in the waiting room. Usually I wait in the first floor lobby, alternately checking my phone and people watching until it's time to go upstairs for my session. I also hang back from the bank of elevators, waiting to catch an empty one. It's a busy building so I'm hardly ever successful, but still. I try.
We get out of the car and Ian carries Iliana across the parking lot, grateful she's not actually asleep. The drive to Shoreline is just long enough to make her drowsy and she's at the stage where a nap will ruin an already tenuous bedtime; afternoon errands like this are always a gamble.
It's been just too cold here lately. The thin almost-winter sunshine still hasn't melted the last of Friday's early morning snowfall, and I need an electric snuggie.*
I'm no good in the cold. For awhile I liked it well enough, calling my sister to report every single snowflake we got that first year in the Northwest. We lived in the foothills of Hurricane Ridge, so you can imagine how many weather reports my sister put up with.
My sister's in Mexico this Thanksgiving week, so I'm on my own to make the turkey. It's rare, but not unheard of for us to be apart during the holiday. We've been making this meal together since we were kids.
We have a system, most of it involving crude humor as we shove delicious balls of bread and meat into a gaping carcass. My mother's Portuguese sausage and bacon stuffing is the primary reason we make a turkey at all. It's a delicious roasting pan that doubles as a side dish. In my family, for as long as I can remember, the stuffing is always king.
It's a long way from the dunes to the shore, and I laugh at myself for the weepy anticipation that grows with nearly every step. It's been years since I've seen the Pacific and I am all caught up in the moment.
Mom taped up another box and laughed. "Kona luggage," she said again, as if had ever been funny. But nobody told her to stop, because at least she was smiling.
She got an offer on the house barely two weeks after it was put on the market, and we were moving. It was time, she said. She seemed so excited.
From our all-girls school on Waialae Avenue, my sister and I would catch the number one to King Street, and wait for Dad to finish up his day at the Bureau of Conveyances. Set behind Honolulu Hale (City Hall) and across the street from the Capitol building, the Bureau was surrounded by expansive green lawns and tall, leafy trees that cast circles of shade against the steady tropical sunshine.
It was next best thing to having a backyard of our own.
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