Being sequestered in a fuselage on the tarmac gives one a lot of time to think. I was wresting with my decision to leave town. I felt as though I was letting other people control my life and that I had succumbed to terrorism. These thoughts created a combination of emotions. I was angry, vulnerable, and regretful. On the other hands, if I was in danger in my own home, so were my dogs. I couldn’t live with myself if they were harmed in an attempt to get to me. Why did I speak to John at The Café? What was I thinking? I was feeling stupid when I flashed on Libby. She was kind and patient and deserved to have her story told, no matter what.

During the short flight to Anchorage I thought about how I normally would be spending Crab Festival days working alongside my friend Ginger. I would see everyone in town plus folks from villages in the Kodiak archipelago. I also met plenty of new people from the lower forty eight who came to Kodiak to compete in some of the festival events and races. I would eat festival food for every meal, take in a couple amusement rides, and spend an hour or so perusing the handcrafted jewelry, pottery, and other artisan wares. This would be the first year I didn’t purchase some sort of silver jewelry directly from the maker.

I also considered my relationship with Guy. I was confused by our connection. At times I felt like we were a couple and at others we were just friends. Guy added to my bewilderment with tender moment or moments of sexual excitement followed by seemingly indifference and awkwardness. I had to remind myself that this was far from a normal week and that I was placing unrealistic expectations on a fledgling relationship even in the best of circumstances.

Baggage and Rat Terrier retrieval went smoothly at the Anchorage airport. The car rental kiosk was organized and efficient. The condo was near the airport so I was punching the key code at the gate entrance in no time. I quickly walked the dogs and then went to the grocery store for provisions. I was in the checkout line when I heard my name. I turned to see a woman, whose name I could not recall, that I worked with on my first project after moving to Anchorage.

We exchanged pleasantries without once needing to recall her name. We recalled our work together and she caught me up on the lives of some of the other folks involved in the work. I’d heard it said hundreds of times but it rang true tonight – Anchorage is the biggest small town in the world. Today had been a rarity when I didn’t run into someone I knew at the airport terminal.

The small condo looked exactly as I remembered it. There was a wide tiled entryway leading into the living room. I had placed a narrow console table and hung a mirror in the dark space. It was perfect for checking hair and makeup on the way out the door. It was also a convenient place for dropping purse, keys, and gloves. The main living area was open to the dining room and an open door to the small galley kitchen. A bar height counter separated the kitchen from the dining area. Apartment sized appliances left plenty of space for storage in the diminutive kitchen. The kitchen and dining room each had a window and the living room exterior wall was completely filled by a triple sliding door that opened unto a small screened in lanai.

There was a small hallway to the bathroom and bedroom with a storage closet. I converted the closet into a laundry area by having washer and dry hookups installed. It wasn’t a big job considering it was next to the bathroom. A stacking washer and dryer left enough room for built in shelves for laundry supplies, towels and linens, and my tool box. The bedroom had a huge closet with mirrored sliding doors. This space made up for the absence of a coat closet after the laundry conversion. The bedroom had a big window and was furnished with a refinished flea market dresser and cast iron bed. Perhaps I could find an appropriate night stand on this trip since I had no plans.

I grabbed a vase from the kitchen cabinet and filled it with water before adding the bouquet I purchased at the grocery store. I thought of the beautiful bouquets I left behind and made a mental note to purchase thank you notes. I went to the antique sideboard in the dining area to retrieve a doily when I noticed an envelope learned up against the stained-glass lamp atop the sideboard. The pink envelope had my name handwritten on it. I placed the doily on the center of the table and the vase on the doily before opening the curious envelope.

It was a thank you card from Ginger and it contained a gift certificate to a popular restaurant and bar. I often loaned my condo to my Kodiak friends when they were staying in Anchorage. It was far superior to most hotels in that it was convenient to the airport, had covered parking, and it was free. There was weekly cleaning service included in my management fees so my guests didn’t have to worry about cleaning up. In her usual acrid style, Ginger’s note thanked me for her stay at “Grandma’s house”. The reference referred to my antiques and furnishings. Although my tastes and budget have changed since I bought the condo, I found comfort surrounded by pieces that I had rescued.

I called several of my Kodiak friends, including Ginger and Guy, but was not successful in reaching anyone. I assumed they were attending a noisy Crab Festival and didn’t hear the phone ring. I left messages letting them know I was safely in the condo in Anchorage and would talk to them tomorrow. I baked frozen chicken parmesan with marinara, toasted a small loaf of garlic bread, and tossed a bagged salad with dressing. After the ratties and I were sated, we went for an evening walk before retiring with the Vampire Lestat. As much as I loved reading stories set in my childhood home of New Orleans, my eyes closed before I finished a single page.


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