Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017 @ 11:34 pm
Rupert Part II
After the stewardess hands me my water, he turns to me. "Are you working or heading home?" I'm surprised - I wasn't expecting the standard travelling-alone icebreaker question from him. I'm normally the one who asks.
We talk for the entire flight. He's a commercial fisherman, trained in fashion design, on his way home from a vacation in Vietnam. He tells me how his wife left him ten years ago, about his kids that he never sees, about the joy and freedom of being on the water.
His leg periodically moves to lean against mine.
The plane circles around the airport in Prince Rupert and approaches low over the choppy sea. We pass over islands, sand bars. And then onto the island, the forest so rich and dense. A patch of muskeg. Bright streaks of lichen punctuate the forest canopy. The sun setting crimson on the narrow space between the clouds and the horizon.
I look down on this and feel home. Nowhere else in the world has ever felt so right.
I step down onto the tarmac, my sandal-clad feet woefully unprepared for the current downpour. Into the airport, onto the bus.
I work on my cross stitch in the dim bus light. A woman bustles down the aisle. "Mind if I sit here?" Certainly not! I reply. "I was going to sit down anyhow, honestly," she smirks.
I guess that she's a local. Looking forward to being home tonight? I ask, guessing that she's been away for more than a day or two.
I'm right. She's a local, been away 10 days. The church pianist. I learn how she was in Edmonton for her brother's funeral, died unexpectedly in his 50's. We talk about how dreams and reality intersect, about how some things - like mid-life death - cannot be explained.
In the bus depot collecting our luggage. The fisherman sees me, smiles, and reaches out to shake my hand goodbye. I watch the pianist greet her ride home. And from across the room, a man catches my eye and asks hesitatingly, "Are you Shannon?"
He's the project manager. We'd talked on the phone on Tuesday or Wednesday. The days of this week blending together. It's now Sunday? I'm so confused. And how I come to have three friends saying hi to me in this bus depot is mind boggling. I wonder how Rob figured out who I was.
See you on the ferry in the morning! I breeze off. Not wanting to linger too long - it's late, and there's always this kind of weird feeling of being the single woman amongst the males.
The air is balmy, gusty wind, and billowy sheets of rain. Rich ocean air.
I walk in the darkness to the grocery store. And then to the hotel. I enter my room - the same room as two weeks ago, and have a strange sense of deja vu. It's kind of nightmarish in a way - repeating the same trip. Like that sick feeling you get when you dream about walking down the hallway in highschool.
There's something about this place, the people. I have spent my life having this identity of being a shy person, of being someone that nobody talks to. But all of that has shifted. I don't know if I'm shy, but I know that people like talking to me. I ask them lots of questions, and the answers are always so interesting. The feeling of having the person that you just met on the plane break out into a grin when they see you across the room? It's a pretty great feeling.
I'm back here on the North Coast, and I like it even more this time around.