She said she wanted to be 30 minutes from a mountain, 30 minutes from a city, and 30 minutes from a sea. It sounded unattainable to me. How could the land peak and fall away and rest under glass and concrete all in the same place? Well not quite all in the same place—30 minutes away, and that’s important. She had to be close enough that skiing and crowds and swimming were accessible, but far enough too, that it was still an exciting trip to take. It couldn’t exist I thought, or at least, couldn’t exist to make me happy. But she started talking about the Market, about the fish, and the lights, and the gum wall, how it stretches like a sticky rainbow, about the Rainier side of things, how even though, 150 out of 365 days are wet, every season is awash in color. She mentioned how it would feel to be on the edge of the country, a part of it, but also away from it. It seemed impossibly far from me. But she continued to describe the waterfront, the Great Wheel that turns silver in velvet dusk, the needle that seems to reach into space, how you can see everything from the top. The place of emeralds and sea hawks and blackberries. I have never been, but after she told me about all those things 30 minutes away, I looked it up. I saw the buildings, light, under a raw purple sky, the tower that seems to sew together the clouds above it, the trees that feather in the forefront, the snowcapped crest in the back, and the water that laps all around. I want to visit now, maybe for a week, or a month, or a year. Maybe just for a night, so I can see what it’s like to be sleepless there.

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