Monday, February 13, 2012


I walked around Portland yesterday. The sun was shining but it lent little warmth. An arctic air mass hovered overhead, and a bitter wind blasted. I kept tucking my scarf around my chin; I kept my gloved hands in my coat pockets. I pretended the sunshine was warm, but didn't linger on the streets. I walked quickly, glancing in shop windows and up at the big blue sky.

There was a cupcake shop. A pink cake was painted on the window, and there were glass stands of lavishly decorated cakes. The glass reflected rainbows of light. I pushed the old door and walked inside. A couple looked up and stared at me. The place was techno bare. A chic girl stood at the counter. She had short dark hair, pallid skin, skinny arms, and a low scooped top.

There was a thermos of coffee. "Is that regular?" I asked. I smiled.

"Yeah," she replied, resentfully.

"Oh. Do you have decaf?"


I looked at the choices. Red velvet, lemon, spice, and chocolate with caramel salt. I ordered the chocolate and went to the bar in front of the window. I yanked at the tall chair. It was unexpectedly light: brushed aluminum. The bar was an old barn board, black, polished smooth. I sat and ate as Valentine's couples giggled by out on the sunny sidewalk, matching outfits, arm in arm.