I Opened the Fire Door

Well, here I am sitting in another airport. It’s been a whole week and I can’t believe Alaska is over. I crossed a continent to hug my best friend for maybe the last time in a year and a half but we’ll cross our fingers that that’s not the truth. I made amazing new friends. I feel like there’s this sense you get when you meet people while traveling where you just know that you’re going to see that person again later in life. I felt that this week. At first look he was the homeless punk who lived in the parking lot in someone else’s Chinook. At last look I was leaving a friend that was my tour guide, my drinking buddy, my fellow dream builder and the guy who gave me a free place to stay when I needed it. I’m leaving somebody who will hug my best friend when I can’t this winter. Who will make art with her, and music. Oh yes, we will meet again. And the three of us will lay ruins to whatever town we come across. So hard. It just shows me that it’s not about spending every day with someone that makes you best friends. It’s not about having all of the inside jokes, or about calling when you’re just bored. It’s that knowledge that the next time you meet, it’ll be like you never left. It’s about experiencing something amazing and storing the memory for the next time you see them. It’s about giving that last hug and knowing it can’t be the last one, because you won’t let it be. I saw some weird shit this week; live gothgrass, a moose running down the street, a sky’s expanse that made me choke on its beauty, a tide that rises so fast you have to run from it, the end of a Camel Crush on my lips, a family of seals wandering around the inlet, a man falling chest deep into a supposed puddle, a drunken man with fistfuls of cash getting thrown belligerently out of a hostel, Native karaoke, a three year old dancing around a stripper pole at a bar in the middle of the day, mushroom forests that so obviously held fairy potential. What I’ll remember best, though, is probably my last night. The three of us piled into the camper in front of a laptop playing Bambi. At the death of Bambi’s mother we passed the bottle of Beam around. “Here’s what was missing when I was a kid,” spoke my best friend, “when I wondered why my heart hurt so much and spent the rest of the movie aching. If I had only known what whiskey was!” We smoked cigarettes and watched as man’s fire set the forest aflame, the disappointment in humanity heavy in each of our four year old souls. We said good night, knowing it was the last time we’d get to say that for a while. The hugs were awkward and short. I promised to wake early enough to make a proper good bye and laid my head to rest. The morning went so fast. I’m off to see my blood family now. To spend some time in northern Minnesota where my childhood memories lie. But I’ll be thinking about Alaska while I’m there; my future indefinite, but my heart sated.

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