Chapter 5

All throughout my time in Portland I was trying to get working on ‘Saints’ but instead found myself drifting onto other matters, so I was only able to get a modest bulk of thoughts down late one night. A lot of it concerned Texas and the hero’s view of it as the great canvas upon which all the challenges and questions of his life rose before him with overwhelming ferocity.

Hotel Lobby

Well what can I write of Texas as I roam Portland tonight haunting street corners and cafes and dark pubs and taverns? This no doubt needs to be a grand chapter in Jude Moonlight’s story.

I was at odds with my parents never living together since it separated me from the rest of my friends. Only Cal might have understood when we were kids, since he never knew his father. He became something of an adopted son to my mother since he never liked being home. He was very protective of his younger sister who always hung around us and loved us when we were all together. Only to a select few did my mother ever appear flawed and human, for to everybody else she seemed the wisest of all the other moms. Only I saw the rare moments of her humanity, I along with her older brother, the only one of her four siblings that was older than she.


Some portrait of mothers in Texas and the USA

That is all that I write so leave the lobby and head up toward the main restaurant on the top floor of the Nine’s Hotel, some swank little bar and buzzing atmosphere at half past eleven.

Nines Hotel. Departure Lounge. 15th Floor

The Departure Lounge overlooks the quiet city on a rainy, grey mist night. Her name is Lisa, the waitress. She is blonde and she has a wonderful smile and a genuine laugh and the warmest blue eyes. She can’t be older than 31 or 32. She strikes me as a young mother and maybe it’s just her personality that is endearing just like those eyes. A young, struggling single mother trying to make ends meet for her 2-year-old boy. On the other hand she could just be the kind of girl who not only appears beautiful but who has that rare presence that makes you feel better about yourself, and that you’d do just about anything to get to know.

At a faraway table three guys approach two girls sitting and strike up a conversation. Only one of the girls seems interested but they are both very pretty and the guys they are no studs but they have that quality in their personality, they are brave and in the end that may be all that it takes.

Lisa asks me if there is anything else she get me.

“Well If I could, I’d get you to sit down with me.”

She laughs and smiles to me. “Well then there’d be no one to serve us.”

“Well that’s okay, we’ll have everything we need.”

She smiles. This place is called Departure.

Journalists have the potential to be next in line following the rank of soldiers, and they know this more than anyone. Some think that they’re already there, using expressions like ‘in the field’ and ‘on the front lines’. They take great pride in this role and it gives them a thrill, the knowledge that they are out where the action is and that they are bound, duty-bound to report what happens out in that field because the rest of us must know. Just like with soldiers, it is our welfare that takes priority in the end, at least ideally.

It is during events like these in which I see the unbound glee the press take, like these particular characters who write for Motortrend and Car & Driver, in their obligations and their watchdog duties. They laugh and drink cocktails in their jeans and blazers, looking only half formal for the jeans remind them of their duties, how they hail from the world outside. ‘But then these journalists are in the field,’ I remember, ‘are they not?’ They are here after all covering Ford’s new 2012 model for the American consumer. ‘But are they really on the job?’ I ask, as they get drunk and hoot and holler and eat until no end, and sleep in this ritzy hotel tonight?

Hell yes. This is all part of the work.

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