Sunday, March 29, 2009


I believe that life is cruel. It's other things, too - beautiful and full of wonder, but it is cruel as well.

Last night at about 8:00 I decided to find another new restaurant for dinner and this took me way across town to SE Portland to Noho's, a Hawaiian diner. I like plate lunches, I guess from an experience I had in Oahu trying to pass time before a Pearl Harbor tour. I happily ate a plate lunch, sitting in the hot sun and looking out to the water, and it was during an amazing vacation, so I have this great association with Hawaiian food and was glad to get some authentic grub. Noho's is small, crowded, and happy,  (and slow, like Hawaii), and I really enjoyed it. Super ono

One the way home I passed a new dessert place a few blocks past Noho's and decided to stop for some yogurt; another place to discover. I walked into the cafe and straight up to the counter. I was the only customer inside. The woman at the counter, probably my age or a couple years older, radiated warmth and hip friendliness. I don't know how else to say it. Right when I walked in she said, "Want some samples?" in the warmest way, before she even said hello, like she'd been waiting for me or something. I told her it was my first time visiting, and asked her what was good. 

We were talking about her favorites and I had my back to the door when I heard someone screaming their head off, just wailing and yelling, and before I even turned around I knew what happened. I've made those noises before, and I've heard those noises before. A really beautiful woman, also our age, was coming through the door of the shop, and she was screaming her head off and crying and barely able to walk. It was horrific. She stumbled over to the counter and wrapped her arms around the girl I'd been speaking to, and she clung for life. She continued to wail, stopping for brief seconds to try to apologize to me, and then going back to her intense sobbing.

Their best friend had been killed by a dru.nk that morning. Horrific news. The guy who did it didn't even stop, although they did find him and arrest him later. 

I ended up staying for 25 minutes or so and we exchanged names and they told me about this wonderful guy who was a gentle, hippie soul and who looked like Mel Gibson. He dressed up like a different Mel Gibson movie character each Halloween. They told me about his personality and his life and family in, and we all laughed and also cried together. They were the coolest, kindest girls. Very gentle and accepting. You could just tell. 

I can't stop hearing the very first few seconds of her screaming, as she was coming through the door. My body went into a crazy fight-or-flight mode at that very second, and I can't stop thinking of the pain that made her howl. It's haunting me. 

On the way home I noticed the moon was a gorgeous sliver, just like a child would draw, bright yellow and hanging perfectly in the sky. It was bright enough out, even at 9:30 PM, that I could easily see the rest of the moon, the dark portion, above the sliver. 

This morning my sister and BIL had to put their dog down. He got sick very suddenly and no one could figure out what was happening, but his strong body was quickly shutting down. I feel sick thinking about it. Amos was every bit a member of our family as much as I am or my sister is. He was a gorgeous dog whom strangers all seemed to describe the same way: cool. "That's a cool dog" we would get when we walked him. He really was. He was 90 pounds of pure muscle, and his bark could curl your toes. Very badass. He could sound like he was three seconds from ripping your head off, but he reserved that only for strange noises and the UPS Man. 

Amos knew he was part of the family and had no shame asserting his place. Once when I was babysitting him while my sister and BIL were out of town, Amos slept with me on the guest bed, his long body fully extended and pressed up against mine, every inch of my almost six feet, much to my discomfort. In the middle of the night when I got up to use the bathroom, I returned to find him asleep in my place, as if I'd just been there for the past several hours to get it warmed up for him. That happened more than once, and when it did, good luck getting him to move. You could push or pull or "Come on, Amos! Come on! Amos, get down! Get down, boy! Come on Amos!" all you wanted. He wasn't moving. 

I've never liked dogs before; I'm not a bad person, I'd just never been around them and I've always been afraid of them. They're big and scary and quite messy. But I lived with my sister and BIL for five months when I moved back from Japan, and I grew to love Amos very quickly. It was easy to overlook the slobber dripping from his droopy, part-boxer lips. He was so lovable, so loyal, so playful, and wanted so much to please you. When I would go over to visit, I'd be walking through the back door and I'd find Amos in the middle of a confusing ritual - he was so excited to see whoever was coming through the door that he'd be wiggling frantically back and forth from his tail to his nose, but he also wanted to offer up a toy, so at the same time he'd be scouting around to find a present to give. He'd wiggle his way to the TV room to find his Kong or maybe a bone, and then wiggle his way back to the door and drop it in front of me (usually on my toes.) I'm sick that he's gone. 


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. Have no idea how I will cope if that happens to our Lassie. There are no words at a time like this to adequately express my sympathy. The only comfort I can offer is that the pictures show a friend who looks like he enjoyed life.

  2. Oh, I'm sooo sorry about Amos. How awful. And the ladies that lost their friend... what a terribly sad day. My sympathy.

  3. I don't know how to comment on this post. I physically hurt after reading it.

    I'm so sorry about Amos. So sorry.

  4. Oh my gosh, you are the second person today to tell me about putting a dog down (our neighbor is putting hers down on Tuesday). I'm heartbroken and so sad for you guys. And I firmly believe that you were in the right time and place last night for that lady...she needed you, and you needed to be in that place for her. As for Nohos, I was less than impressed...$13 for my veggie noodles. Savoy is right around the corner, though...and delicious!

  5. Damn it. This makes me ache. I'm so sorry about Amos. :-(

  6. Wow. what a day for you. I am teary reading about it, and I so dread the day anything happens to my precious Peanut. I honestly don't know how I will make it though that. I wonder if you will stay in touch with the girls you met at the dessert place...? Seems somehow serendipitous that you were there at that moment. But then again, who knows the potential bigger picture (could just be that you were there to experience that or be of some kind of comfort, or any multitude of things)? Love you, and I'm thinking about you. I believe I owe you a call. Coming soon... :)

  7. I wish my arms were long enough to stretch up the coast so I could give you a big hug.

  8. We, at the, felt sorry about Amos. However, we do understand your feeling and there is nothing much we can do. So, what you do is to look forward and put all this behind your back. This is the way to go. As we do not want you to see the ugly side, but look at the bright side and enjoy your life to its fullest. Have a happy life,