Our caravan has moved back to Seattle, the dot from where it had rumbled on three years before. The nomads have finally cruised a full circle, wheeling the entire country from coast to coast. Although I am not a believer in serendipity, this does feel like one. Who would have thought that chance alone would throw us on the beaten ruts once again?! After all, I haven't forgotten the fuss and melodrama I had made when we had to leave Seattle abruptly. Just when it was beginning to feel like home. Just when the nature junkie had begun singing odes to her pagan god. Just when ...
I still remember the faint piney tickle of the air when I had first arrived at the Sea-Tac airport in a damp June afternoon, cold and alone. A jumble of myriad emotions somersaulted inside me - the excitement of seeing Sam after a month; the daunting foreignness of every single moment; the nervousness of getting into an airport express train, for I had no idea what those eerily fast moving things were until then; the fidgeting worry whether I'll get my check-in bags (a co-passenger had already scared me saying her's was lost and wasn't found for months); and above all the giddy joy of having made it, all by myself. Strangely, the nine-hour flight from Amsterdam, after a layover of seven gnawing hours had not killed me. Haldiram's salted almonds and Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies had kept me nourished and warm. Also, I had slept through most of the first flight from Delhi and hence felt quite rejuvenated.
So there I was, received by an almost unrecognizable husband (with a bush instead of a head!) at the baggage area, with a beaming face and a bunch of bright chrysanthemums. I remember they were dyed - green, blue, orange - and I had thought, "Wow, you could get these in green too!" Oh, and yes, my bags arrived safely too.
After three years of feverish longing and wandering in the dusty bylanes of nostalgia, we are here again. It is the same idyll, blanketed with fragrant evergreen woods and sapphire blue lakes. And what's more, it's almost spring! A quick visit to the famous Pike Place market last weekend saw a beautiful display of dewy tulips, possibly the first batch of the season to make their way into the market. After being buried for months in the brutal blizzards of the east, nothing could be more comforting than the sight of these charming flowers and the syrupy warmth of a gingerbread latte.
Well, numbing these small joys is the nagging confusion of apartment hunting coming up this weekend. Wars have to be waged over Sam's obsession with endless square footage and my balcony mania. So stay tuned for more stories from the Emerald city.