Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Destination: Stories from A to Z

When I arrived in Portland with my two large, checked bags, Forrest must have regretted me being his traveling companion. 

“Mom, why did you bring so much? We need to travel light.” He loaded them into the trunk of his car. “These weigh a ton!” 

“Remember, I plan on setting up housekeeping somewhere. I needed a few essentials for cooking. Plus, it’s winter there and the clothes are heavier. I wasn’t sure what to bring or how often I could do laundry.” 

“So, you basically brought everything you own plus kitchen stuff.” 

I laughed and slid into the passenger seat. “You’ll thank me later for those two big jars of peanut butter, believe me.” 

We pulled into his driveway twenty minutes later, no traffic to speak of, despite it being five p.m. Forrest lived near the airport and knew his side streets. 

“Is your landlord at home?” I asked.

"No, but he probably will be later." 

I had met him before, a friendly, talkative man in his fifties named Kevin. I was glad he wasn’t there as I was tired from the long day and not in the mood for small talk. 

Forrest rummaged through the fridge and cupboards. “Let’s make dinner from my leftovers. All these things are mine.” He lined them up on the counter. Rigatoni, cheese, half a bottle of tomato sauce, a few tomatoes. Bread. Dinner practically made itself. 

After eating a large plate of pasta, I felt even more tired. With the landlord gone and the bathroom free, I showered, washed my hair, and put on pajamas. It was eight p.m., time to lay down. 

“You’ll take my room,” Forrest said. “I’ll sleep on the living room couch. But I need to study for an hour or so. Will that bother you?” 

“Not at all. I just want to lay here and read for a while. When I’m ready to fall asleep, nothing will keep me awake.” I turned on my Kindle. 

Forrest sat at the desk in front of his bedroom window, sunshine still brightening the room. The sun would have set by now in Utah, but Oregon was farther north with longer summer days. 

I set down the Kindle. No book could interest me as much as this scene, my youngest son silhouetted there at his desk, deep in study. Tomorrow was our morning flight to Santiago. Happily, I drifted into sleep. 

Now and then, Forrest asked me a question or made a comment that broke into my sleep.

“Did you leave your car at Don and Lauren’s? Will they keep it at the house for when you come back or is Nathan going to use it?” 

I’m not sure. I guess that’s between them. 

“Are you setting an alarm, Mom? My friend is coming to pick us up at six-thirty and dropping us off at the airport.” 

No, I never set alarms. I always wake up on time. 

“I can’t believe you brought those two suitcases.” 

I told you about that already. I’m looking for a home. Maybe temporary, maybe permanent. 

“I almost don’t want to come back. Do you?”

Not really. I wish it were longer than ninety days. 

“Don’t say ninety days. Say three months. That sounds longer. Ninety days doesn’t sound like any time at all.” 

Let's say twelve weeks. That sounds really long. 

“Will it bother you if I turn on this lamp, Mom?” 

No, nothing is bothering me. I feel drugged by the pasta. 

I kept dropping back into that deep sleep. At some point, I wasn’t sure when, Forrest shut down his workstation and left the room in darkness. I slept straight through until four a.m. 

I wrote for an hour then got up and dressed, checked my luggage and carried it out to the front door. Forrest was sound asleep on the couch. I woke him and sat next to his feet until I was sure he was fully awake. 

I cannot remember ever looking forward to anything as much as this trip. Forrest did too but for different reasons. We each had our reasons, although we probably didn't fully understand them within ourselves or with each other. 

Neither one of us wanted to come back, and we hadn’t even left yet. 

Yet to look at the two of us, no one would’ve realized our level of excitement and anticipation. Forrest and I are not very demonstrative; we keep strong feelings to ourselves. I’ve always been quiet and reserved and so is he. If we had not been so alike, this lack of expression might have been frustrating to a more demonstrative companion.

We were going to get along just fine, despite my luggage.


  1. Ha! Three months does sound longer than ninety days, and a week sounds longer than seven days ;)

  2. I enjoy these peeks into your time with your son, feeling the loving energy you give each other. I look forward to the next installment with joyful anticipation.
    Sending smiles, Jenny

  3. Now you've done it. I'm getting one of your books. This is some lovely prose. You captured so much in the describing the wait before beginning a new adventure. Forrest is in good hands. But he will give so many tips along the way. It will be interesting how it unfolds.

    1. Ann, you're a dear. Better try We Burned Our Boats. It's the first of what will be my travel trilogy. Forrest was the bomb on that journey.

  4. Isn't it delicious to watch your child when they don't know they are being watched? From peeking into a classroom or arriving early to pick up from a birthday party when they were small to watching them involved in something, even if it's only breathing or watching tv, it makes me catch my breath at what I created.

    1. Dyanne, You're right, it is delicious! Nothing compares to it. I like how you describe it.

  5. You are creating wonderful memories for yourself, but you're also giving irreplaceable memories to your son. You can't put a price on that. Beautiful writing! (I already ordered your book, We Burned Our Boats.)
    Thanks for the read!

    1. Debi, Wow, thank you so much! It's the best feeling to connect with another person through my writing.

  6. It surely is beautiful writing...

  7. You have a beautiful writing voice.I feel I am learning about you and Forrest as I continue to read, and look forward to your next 90 days...I mean, three months.

    1. Thank you, Alana, for the compliment and for joining me on the journey!

  8. I love this conversation between you and Forrest! What fun to have all of that time together with your son. I'm sure none of mine would want me along on one of their adventures and I totally would have had two fully packed suitcases as well!


Comments are welcome!